In our DesignTalks Spotlights, we’re going into the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of what you should know about each of our DesignTalks speakers and why we are so excited about their work.
We covered Christien Meindertsma in our first post, which you can read here.
Next up, Alexander Taylor:
Who? Alexander Taylor is a British industrial designer and leader of Alexander Taylor Studio, an industrial design studio that creates diverse products ranging from furniture and lighting to footwear. The London based studio was established in 2002 and has a strong focus on research and development of manufacturing techniques, material process, and technical collaboration.
What have they done? What are they doing now?
Experimenting with material processes and explorative collaborations, the studio has created successful products for companies such as Hunter, Established & Sons, Adidas and more.
Fold lamp, first released in 2005 by Established & Sons, launched Taylor’s career. A small lamp folded from a single sheet of metal and accented with a brightly colored braided cord, Fold cleverly paired an innovative new manufacturing technique with the familiar form of the traditional table lamp. This “balance of technology with material” and a recognizable silhouette has led to the continued popularity of Fold today. Fold foreshadowed much of Taylor’s next ten years: this way of working—cleverly twisting classic products by experimenting with new ways of manufacturing them and then creating designs that reflect their unique manufacturing methods—has become a hallmark of Taylor’s designs. Many of these products have been acquired by collections such as the Chicago Institute of Art and Design and Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Mostly recently, Alexander led the design for the adidas × Parley running shoe, which features an upper made entirely of dredged gill net that has been recycled into usable fibre. The design necessitated the development of production techniques specifically tailored for the recycled ocean plastic that it uses. This project was nominated for London Design Museum’s Beazley Design of the Year award in the category of Product Design.
Why is their work important?
“A designer can be the agitator and the agent for change. He must be entrepreneurial in spirit, seeking out collaborators to reach amazing solutions which outperform and offer truly viable alternatives to current methods.” —Alexander Taylor
According to Parley for the Oceans founder Cyrill Gutsch, the adidas x Parley collaboration has led to “new standards, new materials and technologies that are so different to those the sporting goods industry is used to.” Gutsch’s evaluation of Taylor’s contributions to the adidas x Parley collaboration is actually a consistent statement across all of Taylor’s work: through collaborations driven by technical prowess, craftsmanship, and material experimentation in equal measure, Alexander Taylor Studio rethinks everyday lifestyle products that we are familiar through inventive designs and experimental manufacturing techniques.
For more information visit www.alexandertaylor.com
Text by Michelle Site. Photos: Alexander Taylor Studio