What if I set you a test: could you tell me the name of at least three objects that belong to the permanent collection of a design museum?
If you’re passionate about American design, undoubtedly several pieces by the Eames Studio will spring to mind, such as the Eames Lounge Chair. If you’re inclined towards radical design, Juicy Salif by Philippe Starck for Alessi will certainly be your first choice. And if you’re a real design buff, you will already have thought about Mezzadro by Castiglioni for Zanotta.
These pieces are legendary, but did you know that design museums have everyday objects too? For example, like the Vespa scooter, the Valentina typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass and even the iconic Singer sewing machine.
Here I have three objects for you, to win the next guessing game or to help you with that incomplete crossword puzzle. Seven down, four letters: in show at Triennale in Milan and MoMA in New York.
Coffee needs to be recognised as a real religion, but it wouldn’t have become what it is today without the moka by Bialetti.
The moka has been on the market since it was first designed in 1933 and in the course of time it has undergone only minor changes. Alfonso Bialetti’s intuitive leap was prompted by a desire to bring coffee culture to people’s homes, bypassing the unwieldy and gigantic machines used in the catering industry.
They were replaced by a small lightweight object, easy to use, clean and store. And to put on the table when you’ve finished eating lunch and your friends are staring longingly at the pastries.
Without a doubt, you will have seen the Rainbow Flag designed by Gilbert Baker and adopted as the international symbol for the LGBTQ community. However, you might be unaware that in 2015 the Rainbow Flag joined the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York, and last July it became part of the collection of the Design Museum in London.
Does it seem an odd choice to you? Think about it: for more than 40 years, the rainbow flag has been
The British Anglepoise lamp, designed in 1933 (the same year as the moka) by the mechanical engineer George Carwardine, is another surprising find. You will recognise this lamp among a thousand: it was the first lamp to be fitted with a spring mechanism to adjust the position of its arm, thus making it perfect for any desk, even your father’s.
The Anglepoise lamp earned its reputation also thanks to a special discovery. During the eighties, a WW2 British fighter plane was fished out of the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland. Inside the plane, the researchers found an Anglepoise Navigator’s Lamp, commissioned by the government for the air force, and still in perfect working order despite having spent forty years at the bottom of a lake with only Nessie (perhaps) for company.
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