James Irvine
1958-2013

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James Irvine

News: British industrial designer James Irvine, who founded his studio in Milan nearly 30 years ago, has died aged 54.

Irvine studied design at Kingston Polytechnic in London before completing his master's degree at the Royal College of Art in 1984, after which he moved to Milan to work as a design consultant for Olivetti, the Italian company famous for its typewriters.

Founded in 1988, his studio has created products, furniture and transport for companies including Italian design brands Artemide, Foscarini and Cappellini, art publisher Phaidon and camera-maker Canon, while in 2000 he designed a fleet of Mercedes-Benz buses for the German city of Hannover.

Irvine most recently worked as the creative director of bent wood furniture company Thonet and as design consultant to Japanese brand Muji, roles he combined in a furniture design collaboration with Konstantin Grcic in 2009.

Figures from the industry paid tribute to Irvine on Twitter, with British designer Sebastian Bergne commenting: "Deeply shocked to hear of the death of James Irvine. What a great loss." David Carlson, editor-in-chief of online magazine David Report, wrote: "The world has lost a great person and a great designer."

San Francisco-based designer Yves Béhar later added: "James Irvine was a gentle soul in design, talent and kindness as one. He was always very sweet to me personally... will miss you James."

We filmed an interview with Irvine in 2010 as part of the Dezeen Talks at [D3] Design Talents series at imm cologne – watch it below.

See all design by James Irvine »

  • Frederik

    This is a big loss. May he rest in peace.

  • xit

    An understated real designer.

  • sgl

    Such a great guy. We’ll never forget you, James.

  • Luke

    I had the pleasure to meet James once at a product launch and spoke to him for half an hour. He came across as a thoroughly nice bloke: friendly, unassuming and full of good stories and advice. A talented designer also. A sad loss.

  • Claudia

    So sad, so early. Why?

  • chachaam

    I was his intern last year. He was an amazing designer. Rest in peace.