Phaidon Design Classics
Think you know what makes a design classic? According to Phaidon, it's an industrially manufactured object with "timeless aesthetic value". A standard of its kind and, despite the year in which it was designed, is still up to date. If you want to know what that means in practical terms, you need to pick up Phaidon Design Classics.
The collection presented in three volumes, has been put together by a group of experts following the above criteria. Items are presented chronologically, beginning with an elegant pair of Chinese bonsai scissors from the early 1800s, still in production today, and ending with Jasper Morrison's recent "brunch set". Everything from the clothes peg to Concorde, 999 designs taking in 19th century functionality, machine aesthetics of the 1930s, the arrival of plastic in the 50s and 60s, space age design of the 60s and 70s and the "classics-to-be" of the last 20 years.
Detail is everything - each product is presented over up to 6 pages, accompanied by text by an expert in the field, information about development and an explanation over why the item was so groundbreaking. If you're serious about design, this three-volume set will keep you going for months - if not years.
Not cheap, the RRP is £100, though Amazon do it for nearer £66.