Industrial designer Jasper Morrison on super normal design.
English designer Jasper Morrison, both personally and professionally, embodies Normcore before it was taken up and made mainstream cool. (Normcore: a modern fashion movement where unpretentious, average-looking clothing is worn as an antidote to high fashion and fashion obsession. The term is a portmanteau of “normal” and “hardcore” created by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group). This interest in simplicity in design was fully realised in his collaboration with Naoto Fukasawa on their exhibitions and later publication, Super Normal, which is a tome of the celebration of everyday design and features objects such as drinking glasses, felt tip pens and pieces of his own collections – still available from his now-famous store in London.
Born in London in 1959, Jasper Morrison was educated at Kingston Polytechnic Design School and The Royal College of Art and attended Berlin’s HdK on a scholarship. His CV reads like a piece of design scripture having designed for Vitra, Cappellini, Alessi, Muji, Flos, Maharam as well as developing product for Tate Modern while exhibiting in some of the finest design fairs in New York, Tokyo and throughout Europe. Having founded Jasper Morrison Ltd, which is based in London and Paris, the company designs and produces for some of the biggest product developers in the world.
On creating design that is meant to be both beautiful and functional, Morrison has this to say: “design, which used to be almost unknown as a profession, has become a major source of pollution. Encouraged by glossy lifestyle magazine, and marketing departments, its become a competition to make things as noticeable as possible by means of colour, shape and surprise. Its historic and idealistic purpose, to serve industry and the happy consuming masses at the same time, of conceiving things easier to make and better to live with, seems to have been side-tracked. The virus has already infected the everyday environment. The need for businesses to attract attention provides the perfect carrier for the disease. Design makes things seem special, and who wants normal if they can have special?”
What’s next for Jasper Morrison? He is currently designing a chair for the American firm Emeco to be unveiled at the Milan Furniture Fair next April. And his philosophy of design?
Design should make good atmosphere.
Written by Michael Owen