A dozen delightful designs: Twelve of the best classic creations at London's Design Museum

By Culture24 Reporter | 03 August 2016

The Design Museum is hoping the public will help raise the final £1 million for its new home by sponsoring their favourite objects. Here are 12 of the best

Valentine Typewriter

A photo of a typewriter at the design museum in london
1969, Ettore Sottsass© Design Museum
The Valentine typewriter is the poster child of 60s Italian design. The bold red case is practical, lightweight, portable and stylish.

Its modern design re-energised the typewriter market, bucking the post-modern trend by reminding the world that this classic product still had relevance in an industrial, technologically-advanced world.


A photo of a pair of shoes at the design museum in london
2004, Christian Louboutin© Design Museum
With their instantly recognisable glossy red soles, Christian Louboutin’s shoes have become an important part of the fashion landscape. Louboutin has built one of the most successful shoe brands in the world with a blend of craftsmanship and a distinctive kind of glamour.

From razor sharp stilettos and lace-up boots to studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps, Louboutin’s designs carry his unique signature. The Pigalle, named after one of his favourite neighbourhoods in Paris, was one of the first pumps designed by Louboutin and it has become one of his most popular designs.

My First Sony

A photo of a tape machine at the design museum in london
1992, Sony Design Centre© Design Museum
The My First Sony range was the Japanese electronics giant’s first foray into the children’s market.

They took inspiration from popular toys to create a product that perfectly combined fun and function. The amplified microphone and tape deck brought cutting-edge technology to children, with its vibrant and minimalist design.

Phonosuper SK5

A photo of a record player at the design museum in london
Dieter Rams, 1956© Design Museum
Dieter Rams is one of the most influential product designers of all time - not least because of the sublime SK5 Phonosuper that defined turntables forevermore.

The futuristic Perspex cover felt almost otherworldly at the time and led to the German public giving it the nickname ‘Schneewittchenssarg’ (‘Snow White’s Coffin’).

Vespa Clubman

A photo of a vespa bike at the design museum in london
Corradino D'Ascanio, 1946© Design Museum
You don’t get much more iconic than the classic Vespa Clubman.

The original 1946 design began Italy’s love affair with scooters and helped kick-start the country’s post-war economy. The Clubman epitomises chic, sleek Italian style.

Apple iMac G3

A photo of an apple imac computer at the design museum in london
Jonathan Ive, 1998-99© Design Museum
It’s hard to beat Apple when it comes to recognisable products and the 1998 iMac is no exception. This all-in-one monitor and computer has the same visual impact today as it did then.

Simple, integrated, easy-to-use designs, crafted with great care and beauty, are what Apple does best. The iMac G3 is a landmark of design, both inside and out.

G-Force Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner

A photo of a G-Force Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner at the design museum in london
James Dyson (Dyson Research Design Development), 1986© Design Museum
Unable to find support for his invention in the UK, James Dyson licensed his first design for a bagless vacuum cleaner in Japan.

The high-tech form, striking colours and Cyclone feature, allowing continuous suction, of the G-Force were a success. By 1993, they had funded his production of the DCO1.

GPO Tele 150

A photo of a telephone at the design museum in london
General Post Office, 1924© Design Museum
The 1920s saw the development of automatic exchange switching technology, eliminating the need for an operator to connect telephone calls.

In 1924, the GPO brought this cutting-edge technology to the UK for the first time, cleverly uniting the revolutionary circular dial with the familiar candlestick frame.

Melodic Kettle

A photo of a melodic kettle at the design museum in london
Richard Sapper, 1983© Design Museum
Richard Sapper broke from his tradition of disciplined German functional design to make a kitchen appliance with a lot of character. He was inspired by Alberto Alessi’s Italian family company that aimed to produce truly artistic items at an affordable price.

This beautiful kettle design combines practical Bauhaus geometry with the whimsical melody of a whistle.

Block Toaster

A photo of a black toaster at the design museum in london
Piero Russi for Trabo, 2004© Design Museum
Featuring a sleek yet minimalist design, the Block was the second toaster by Trabo and followed on from the hugely successful Toast design by Gae Aulenti.

Still revered as a must-have appliance for the design conscious, Block is a timeless and iconic piece of kitchen design.

Anglepoise Lamp

A photo of an anglepoise lamp at the design museum in london
George Carwardine, 1934© Design Museum
It took a combination of an engineer dedicated to the technology of springs and a businessman determined to diversify his product range to bring this striking yet functional lamp to market.

Despite the huge technological advances since its creation in Redditch in 1934, even today you’d be hard pushed to find a desk lamp that doesn’t draw on Carwardine’s design.

Cartoon Chair

A photo of a cartoon chair at the design museum in london
Fernando and Humberto Campana, 2007© Design Museum
The Cartoon Chair is a truly unique object. The imagination of Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana dreamt up this explosion of classic Disney characters.

It’s a design full of energy and playfulness that brings out everyone’s inner child.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Three places to admire design excellence in

, Warwick
Britain in the Fifties, the current exhibition, explores the history of post-war design through the experiences of the average British consumer. The display examines the crucial role of design in shaping the Brave New World of the post-war period and the effect on everyday life of the growing wealth of 50s Britain. Until October 2 2016.

, Newcastle and Gateshead
The Designs for Life galleries showcase the Shipley’s craft and design collections, featuring more than 300 objects made in many parts of the world over the past 2000 years. They range from the special and unique to the everyday and mass-produced.

Later this year, an exhibition, Modern Japanese Design, will invite 32 designers display to show more than 100 pieces in a dynamic display conveying the essence of the unique Japanese design ethos.
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