Amongst today’s most influential industrial designers and one of the few modern day designers able to hold his own with the legendary names of the past, Jasper Morrison is an English product and furniture designer extraordinaire Born in London but brought up in New York, United States, Morrison was educated at Bryanston School. He received a Bachelor of Design degree from Kingston Polytechnic Design School in 1982 and a Masters degree in Design from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1985. He also studied at the Berlin University of the Arts, formerly the Hochschule der Künste. As a consequence of his nomadic formative years, his work benefits hugely from a wide range of cultural influences and draws on many different design theories. His work is renowned for its ascetically elegant, quietly humorous style and he has designed everything from a tray-table to a tram system.
Morrison credits his grandfather’s study – a light, bright room furnished in the modernist style and an Eileen Gray exhibition he saw at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum as his earliest influences. Another inspiration was the flamboyant furniture he saw at the Memphis movement’s first exhibition in Milan in 1981. Describing the experience as “just fantastic, here was proof that none of the old design rules mattered any more” Morrison was always going to become a designer with his finger on the pulse and his eye on the future.
His 1999 Air Chair, designed for Magis, is a perfect example of his desire to push the boundaries and has been a huge success. Unusual in the fact that its wide acclaim is not reflected in a inflated price tag- the Air Chair has invented affordable chic! As well as being stylish and functional is also lightweight and stackable. It looks quite simple but involves the latest technology of vacuum moulding combined with durable polypropylene and glass fibre and can be used indoors or out. It is available in a selection of delicious colours that leaves customers with only one dilemma- which colour to choose?! Colours in production are constantly rotated and tinkered with, but
current shades include ivory white and pale blue for more traditional setting or spaces which demand calm such as bedrooms and studies, statement shades like fuchsia pink, grass green and orange (introduced in Mid 2007, slightly brighter than its predecessor) which go fantastically well in Pop Art and Art Nouveau interiors and become almost iridescent when set against the right backdrop- try some dark blue curtains or jet black blinds, and a very sleek and modern beige which the new grey for 2009 darlings! Use the beige to add subtle, understated warmth in a industrial or minimal setting.
Anyone wanting to really understand Jasper Morrison’s work and how he wants you to use it should flick through A World Without Words, the collection of images he compiled in 1988 from his collection of second-hand books and postcards. From one of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion houses and Gerald Summers’ one piece plywood chair to a fisherman’s hut on Hastings’ shingle beach, the images give a clear understanding of the thoughts Morrison was having whilst dreaming up classics like the Air Chair.