There is really nothing flashy about the influential British designer Jasper Morrison, which is pretty remarkable in an era that prefers its designers rock-star style. His Glo-Ball lamp is a simple opal-glass orb on top of an unadorned steel rod. He fabricated his Ply chair using an electric saw, pieces of plywood, screws and some glue. His work is restrained, functional, minimalist. You might even call it normaland if you did, that would be just fine with Morrison.
"Why is normal disappearing, and how do we replace it?" asks Morrison, who works out of studios in his hometown of London and in Paris. "I noticed that certain objects in my life performed so well they began to make their presence felt quite strongly. I thought there was something to be learned from them that we were ignoring in our search for sensational new forms."
So last year he and Naoto Fukasawa, a like-minded Japanese designer, pulled together a group of products that were useful and nice to look at but without all the gimmicks. Among their 200-plus picks were a Bialetti stove-top espresso machine and an Alvar Aalto wooden stool, along with anonymous objects like a paper clip. They dubbed the collection "Super Normal" and exhibited it in Tokyo, London and Milan. This April they published a catalog of their exhibition.
Now Morrison, 47, is busy applying his manifesto in the studio. His latest projects include a mobile phone and a refrigerator for Samsung, plates and glasses for the Italian manufacturer Alessi and light fixtures for Flosbells and whistles not included.
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