I choose to nominate two objects. They both impress me, yet are connected. One is Barbara Hepworth’s Oval Sculpture No 2, the other is the Aston Martin DB7.
In 1943, Barbara Hepworth created this sculpture by blending convex and concave forms with radical new features such as piercing scallops and sharp highlighted edges that merged. In doing so, she created a new visual language from which the shapes we now take for granted in automotive design derive. Evident also in the work of Picasso, this language was explored further by Henry Moore (at the Royal College of Art in 1933), who studied with Hepworth.
In the late 1970s, the RCA caretaker would clear the fourth-floor design studio each evening, and the last men standing often included Ian Callum, designer of the DB7, and me. We sat on opposite sides of the design studio – Ian was exploring his trademark forms on car renderings, I was working out which end of a Magic Marker to hold. I distinctly remember looking over his shoulder and thinking, ‘Never in my lifetime’. How wrong I was.
So, I am impressed by the Hepworth piece for creating a new language and the DB7 for using a more sophisticated dialect on a car.