When we label a piece of furniture, kitchen utensil or hand bag as being a “classic” piece, we do so because we continue to make use of them long after their original date of design. Their defining characteristics are their timelessness and longevity. Unlike antiques, classic designs seem to defy the passing of time; they remain current.
But classic designs are also revolutionary. They always bring something new onto the scene. They forge new territory. They are conceived at the margins of the latest trends. Their designs reveal bold concepts. Paradoxically, they possess a few neutral elements which are key to their success. Their eloquent essence combines with their maximum simplicity. They are singular objects which arouse our curiosity and captivate us. They are by our side every day and those that have reached iconic status have already found their place in museums.
Miguel Milá’s TMM Lamp, Rafael Marquina’s oil bottle, the Kelly bag by Hermès or the Panton chair by Verner Panton. All of these objects are classics. Practical and functional, they embody convenience in its widest sense yet are attractive in their simplicity and exciting without being overwhelming. They are manufactured with care using durable, natural materials and their cost is fair. That’s why they are sustainable. Design is a fundamental part of their coming into being. To design them, one has to imagine what the future will look like without disparaging the past; by taking the radical and modulating its meaning and associated perceptions, the designer creates an object that is ahead of its time. A design which expresses movement without overshadowing its user.
Classic designs foster a culture that puts a high value on the care, appreciation and love of objects. They encourage moderation in the acquisition of things. They place a priority on quality. And history has shown that they are – and will continue to be – timeless and modern.
*Félix Preciado, designer and founder of EQUIPAJE BCN