Joe Colombo, the furniture and product designer, came to my attention in the early 1970s. I was on a foundation course and had never considered that designing a piece of furniture could be so compelling until I saw his work.
Here was an uber-cool Italian designer who ardently strove to promote in his designs the notion of furniture being an integral element of living and work environments. His designs were sculptural, his use of materials was pioneering and he passionately believed that his work would change the way the world would function. He saw himself as a ’creator of the environment of the future’ and wrote about the globalisation of a ’natural tribal society’, predicting that these groups, living and working in common, would require a new type of habitat.
His Visiona ’habitat of the future’ (pictured bottom right) inspired me to consider furniture as a holistic part of the designed environment. His Universale chair (pictured below left, with Colombo), the first chair to be moulded from a single material, made me love materials and technology. Colombo inspired me because he had a vision that drove his passion for design.