Design Icon: 10 Works by Jasper Morrison

By striving for the “super normal,” the soft-spoken Brit has made noise with his inclusive, intuitive design.

Jasper Morrison once spent four years designing a fork. While there’s plenty of personality traits you could assign to someone who spent the equivalent of a presidential administration obsessing over cutlery, sensitive may be the most fitting for the London-based designer. Since gaining notice alongside a generation of new British designers in the late ‘80s, Morrison has excelled at form and function without unnecessary flair. "Atmosphere" is a word he often uses to describe his work, and as the title of his 2005 exhibit with Naoto Fukasawa, “Super Normal,” suggests, he strives for designs that don’t overturn conventional wisdom as much as evolve, taking a classic role and improving upon the delivery. Design should always be better than what came before, he says.

Morrison recalls a room in his grandfather’s home, a Scandinavian-style study with a Dieter Rams Snow White’s Coffin Record player, as a formative influence that steered him towards studying furniture design at Kingston Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art in London. As he began to design and in some cases manufacture his own pieces—beginning with the Office for Design in London and projects for Vitra, Magis, and Cappellini, among others—he also documented his thought process and perspective at shows such as "A World Without Words" in Milan. While aiming for simplicity in and of itself isn’t revolutionary design, Morrison’s pursuit and products, such as the Air Chair, suggest it’s anything but easy.

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