Conran Columns: Design Heaven and Design Hell: Roger Mavity

We’re very excited about our new column here on the Conran blog.

A while back we tried a little team building exercise, inviting people to introduce and discuss their idea of Design Heaven and Design Hell. There were some intriguing – and very mixed – choices, attracting quite a bit of interest and discussion as well as the odd controversy.

Over the next weeks and months we will be asking some of our great and glorious friends in the world of design to contribute their thoughts. Watch this space!

To start us off here’s our very own CEO Roger Mavity. Roger’s usually quite unabashed when it comes to having an opinion on something so let’s see what gets his vote…

Design Heaven

A good chair should delight the eye as well as support the bum.  The Wassily Chair for me does that brilliantly.  Because it completely reinvents how a chair should work, the result is something which is more like a piece of sculpture than a piece of furniture.  Designed nearly 100 years ago, it still looks timelessly modern.  In spite of its austere look it’s actually amazingly comfortable.  It makes the point that if the chair supports the body in the right way, you don’t need twelve tons of upholstery and padding.

Of course it’s not to everyone’s taste, but then distinctive ideas rarely are.  At any rate, I like it: and the proof of the pudding is that I have one in my bedroom.   And one in my study.  And one in my living room.

I haven’t found space for one in the bathroom yet, but I’m working on it.

Design Hell

This is a photo finish between my two ultimate design nightmares: the bendy bus and the Inland Revenue Income Tax Return form.  But however exasperating a tax return form may be, it only comes to haunt us once a year, whereas the bendy bus is with us always.

The most hateful thing about the bendy bus is how intimidating it is for us ordinary mortals who try to negotiate London traffic in anything smaller than a Chieftain tank.  I drive a mini and I quake with terror when the bendy bus comes near.  Thank god I’m in a car and not on a bike.

And the bendy bus is so huge it is not only intimidating to other traffic, it is also a slow moving traffic jam itself.

Never mind the effect on neighbouring motorists, the bendy isn’t even efficient as a bus.  Their vast bulk is usually three quarters empty so they crowd out the rest of us simply to transport a lot of air.  And since they are so big it’s easy to get on and off without paying:  the 73 route was nicknamed the ‘seventy free’ by regulars.

Boris swept to power with a promise that he would eliminate them.  That was some years ago and they are still with us.  But then he is a politician.

If you love the Wassily Chair enough to invest in it (classic pieces are great investments after all…) click here to find out how to buy one.


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Filed under CEO Speaks: Roger Mavity, Conran and London

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