Peerless is the aspiration of excellence in design. In an ideal world, all design would be peerless. We live in a highly visualised world. We’re constantly bombarded with brands and products. Consumers look to design to be surprised and enthralled. There’s an insatiable appetite for great products, but little or no design curation. We crave a sense of discovery, but don’t have the time to source it.
Ross Bailey, Founder of Appear Here, a short-term retail space marketplace for brands and designers seeking a temporary bricks and mortar presence, says:“There’s too much choice, not enough editing. If you look in people’s wardrobes or bedrooms, the things they love are never things they bought on the internet. They tend to be souvenirs of their experience in the real world.”
“A peerless design stands apart, for all the right reasons. It’s easy to simply be different...but to truly deserve the term ‘peerless’ takes imagination, intellect, wit, and more than a little wisdom.” Prof. Gerry McGovern, Chief Design Officer, Land Rover, Range Rover.
Examples of peerless designs with imagination, intellect, wit and wisdom?
GMG : “The Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, designed in the mid-fifties, there have been many imitations but nothing like the original. I love the wit in designing a chair based on the form of the egg. The Patek Philippe Nautilus designed by Gerald Genta in 1976 was inspired by the porthole, as found on transatlantic ocean liners, it took him five minutes to sketch the watch that would become an icon. It’s as timeless and contemporary today as when it was first created. Finally The Range Rover. Evolved over almost fifty years. Sophisticated, elegant and highly desirable. There is nothing else like it. It has a wonderful sense of formality which makes it feel at home anywhere. My Range Rover is in Byron Blue with a satin-finish, with 22” gloss black wheels. The finish is iridescent, so it adapts to the light, darker by night, lighter by day. It’s the perfect colour to showcase the sophistication of the vehicle.”
JCC : “Peerless design is not necessarily expensive or unaffordable. For me, I would nominate the Burberry trench, the Chanel 2.55 handbag, the Audemars Piguet watch and perhaps the Fiat 500, to my mind, even more peerless than a Ferrari.”
What distinguishes great design from peerless design?
GMG : “That emotional connection is what differentiates great products from average products.” One company successfully combining data mining with a personalised experience is Style Fix, an online personal shopping service with a stylist who hand-picks pieces to correspond to the online customer’s taste, needs and budget and delivers them directly. Each delivery is like receiving a specifically tailored personal gift.
JCC : “I divide my time between Europe and San Francisco, home of Apple, Google and Elon Musk! It’s an alter-dimension where anything is possible. A case in point, Adidas’ latest sports shoe, created by Carbon. This is set to become peerless, with a system that lets anything the designer imagines be reproduced by the industry. For me, this is the proper way to harness great design.”
The product development process traditionally follows four distinct phases: design, prototyping, tooling, and production. This process is slow and costly, so many development programs can afford fewer than five cycles of design refinement before finalizing, which constrains the creative process. Carbon’s game-changing development process enabled Adidas to iterate no fewer than 50 different midsole lattices before selecting the final design. Ten times as many iterations as previously possible were made for a sports shoe that will be mass-produced.
JCC : “Tech is easier to manage than niche design. In 20 years’ time, if you have the latest generation 3-D printer, you’ll be able to select the brand you like and produce your own design in your own living room.”
Empreintes, the online marketplace of the Métiers d’Art de France has a dual motive - to get artists’ and designers’ work and process into the public eye, and to make beautiful creativity accessible and affordable to everyone. It has both a bricks-and-mortar and an online vitrine for artists throughout France, ensuring that all of its members have international exposure, and that design lovers can buy a unique, signed piece for as little as 75€.
JCC : “Empreintes is very BORN-minded. This is exactly our objective, connecting people who make beautiful products for people who love them, celebrating creativity. It is a curation-led process. BORN can help make this happen. We all need to do our utmost to enrich creators’ lives, to showcase their creativity.”
GMG : “Design is actually the glue that holds everything together. The world would be a sad place, for me, without great design.”