“As the chief mechanical engineer of the London & North Eastern Railway, (LNER) Sir Nigel Gresley created two of the world’s most famous steam locomotives: Flying Scotsman and Mallard. The latter still holds the world steam speed record of 126mph. Its instantly recognisable, streamlined shape, inspired by the racing cars designed by Gresley’s friend, Ettore Bugatti, was revolutionary: it would be fascinating to see its development, and how its creator’s engineering skill, eye for line and proportion, imagination and sheer chutzpah came together on paper to produce a British design icon.”
“I would be most interested in seeing the inner workings and processes of Italian designer Bruno Munari.
I accidentally stumbled upon Munari’s children’s books on the bookshelves of my old boss (thanks, Michael). Seduced by the tactile, non-linear approach, I found myself mesmerised by Munari’s style, allowing readers to build their own narrative.
Having recently become a father myself I find it frustrating that children’s books can be so rigid. I am constantly trying to find more elastic ways of learning. Munari was the master of this.
He once said ‘Keeping the spirit of childhood alive in your life means maintaining a curiosity for knowledge, the joy of understanding, one’s will to communicate.’ I couldn’t put it better myself.”
“Daniel Libeskind – he designs breathtaking, complex, confounding, emotional places. As a young designer in 2001, I had the pleasure of meeting him while working on the launch of Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
I remember Mr Libeskind talking of dropping a teapot out of his studio window to represent how war and conflict shatters the world, then piecing fragments back together to symbolise his idea behind the building.
It was the first time I could truly see how a big idea could be expressed through bricks and mortar. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it.”
“Yesterday we had a power cut. For a moment everyone in the studio had to consider what could be achieved with paper, pen and conversation. It was an unexpected but pleasant experience. So for that reason, I’d like to see a book that charts the visual history, across all design practices, of the scribble. Something like the sketch equivalent of Shaun Usher’s Letters of Note proclaiming the virtues of sometimes badly drawn yet elegant ideas.”