Have Your Say .. Who are the Revolutionary Designers of the Past 70 Years?

This month’s Have Your Say article takes a slightly different format.  We invited 7 designers to nominate designers who they feel where revolutionary in their field, each in a different decade. 

We invite you to Have Your Say … and tell us who you feel was a revolutionary designer between 1950 and 2018?

Have your say feature revolutionary designers

1950’s – Charles and Ray Eames

Nominated by Byron and Gomez


‘It would have to be Charles and Ray Eames, despite their belief that a designer should “innovate as a last resort” there work was undoubtedly revolutionary. In particular their pioneering efforts with plywood are fascinating, the leg splints they developed are as functional and spartan as an object could be yet undeniably beautiful.’

1960’s – David Mellor

Nominated by Alys Bryan


Image via www.davidmellordesign.com

‘David Mellor designed beautiful cutlery.  His design ethos, that great design can change your life, also quietly revolutionised our urban street scene.’

1970’s – Dieter Rams

Nominated by PENSON


Image via Vitsoe

‘Dieter Rams has a design philosophy akin to PENSON’s own values: design must not only have beauty of form and functionality at the heart, but design has a duty to be useful and to improve lives. Always one step ahead, Dieter Rams always ensured his design was timeless but made for everyday modern life.’

1980’s – Vico Magistretti

Nominated by Lucy Kurrein


Image via www.vicomagistretti.it

‘Magistretti treated upholstery like clothing – that thinking is still revolutionary today and provides infinite inspiration to me.’

1990’s – Ron Arad

Nominated by Julian Evens, BroomeJenkins


Image via Ron Arad

‘From his early works that repurposed found objects and pushed metal into fantastic forms Arad has always created his own unique aesthetic. Never wanting to create just another product, it seems that every new project tackled, he wants to push the manufacture and form to new levels. His initial “one off” hand made pieces led to designs that were developed for mass production yet still retained the same experimental spirit, always pushing the boundaries what is capable.’

2000’s – Paul Smith

Nominated by Claire Vallis, Style Library Contract


Image via www.paulsmith.com

‘We love Paul Smith for the way he manages to combine tradition and modernity with stand-out originality. He has created a brand that is a fabulous ambassador for British design, always staying true to Paul’s founding values. At the same time revered yet not taking itself too seriously – a winning combination.’

2010’s – Zaha Hadid

Nominated by Adam West, Partner, CZWG Architects


Image by Mary McCartney

‘By 2010 Zaha Hadid had only completed a handful of buildings. But by the time of her death in 2016, technology had finally caught up with her visionary approach to space and form.  Intricate attention to detail equalled her passion for grandeur. From the tiniest pepper pot to city masterplans, her work was usually elegant, never dull. The world is a richer place for her.’

Who would you nominate as a revolutionary designer?  Please let us know in the comments section below of on twitter @DesignInsider1


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
View all posts by Alys Bryan →


  • Kate Nannery

    I immediately think of Vivienne Westwood. She is revolutionary in her unique and bold designs and she brought punk fashion into the mainstream! But I also think she is revolutionary because of her continued campaigning for many different humanitarian issues, including climate change, feminism and civil rights. She’s quite the inspiration and she’s still going at the age of 77!