While he glories in the title of professor, Martin Darbyshire is a practising product designer and also chief executive of seminal London design consultancy Tangerine.
His day job involves groundbreaking work for a host of international clients such as Samsung in South Korea, and high-profile projects such as the £100m relaunch of British Airways’ business class service Club World. For the latter, Tangerine handled product development for the venture, including the new flat-bed seat, with Davies Baron creating the interiors and Winkreative seeing to the branding and related collateral.
But it is his wider role in global design that wins Darbyshire a place in the Hot 50 this year. Last October, he was voted in as UK representative on the board of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, adding to his extensive overseas experience.
Tangerine was one of the first UK product groups to spot the opportunities afforded by the East – and the scope for multidisciplinary collaboration there. It set up an office in the South Korean capital Seoul in 2004 under the umbrella name Tangerine & Partners. The partners include London-based branding and wayfinding specialist Applied Information Group, human factors group Davis Associates, trends forecaster West 6 and strategy group Viadynamics.
Darbyshire’s role at Icsid and Tangerine’s involvement in UK Trade & Investment’s China Design Taskforce, among other ventures, make him a great ambassador for UK design.