James Irvine Dies at 54

British Designer Leaves Behind Studio in Milan

The British product and furniture designer James Irvine, who lived since the mid-1980s in Italy, died in Milan early Monday morning. He was 54 years old.

Irvine graduated with a master's from the Royal College of Art in London in 1984. That same year, he moved to Milan to work for Olivetti, the manufacturer of electronic equipment, as an industrial designer.

He founded his own studio in 1988, designing for brands such as Cappellini and SLP. Throughout the 80s, in addition to his own work, he also ran the industrial design group for Sotsass Associati and did a year-long stint in Tokyo at the Toshiba Design Centre.

Although he designed a wide range of furniture and products, working with brands including Artemide, Muji, Olivari, Canon, Whirlpool and Thonet, he is often known as the man behind Hanover's public transit. In 2000, he designed a fleet of silver and green Mercedes-Benz buses specifically for the city.

Irvine received several honours in his life time - in 2004 he was the guest of honour at Interieur Kortrijk in Belgium, and that year received an RDI, Royal Designer for Industry, the highest distinction awarded to designers in the UK. In 2007, he was awarded an honourary doctorate from Kingston University.

 

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