1. Home
  2. Design Ideas

Jasper Morrison: Extraordinarily Ordinary

London-born Jasper Morrison is a hugely prolific and highly esteemed award-winning industrial designer. Reading Morrison’s brief online biography is enough to inspire awe and amazement at his level of accomplishment. A leading global design figure, Morrison’s approach is modest, his work punctilious and astute, simple and complex. Morrison’s designs are influenced by acute observation and an examination of the world around us: the objects and things that shape our lives, determining how we live and function. His work spans the design sphere in its broadest sense, encompassing furniture, lighting, electrical instruments, architecture, accessories and installations.

Jasper Morrison.
Jasper Morrison.

Super Normal

Jasper Morrison’s view of good design includes the premise that an object is more appealing when it’s less noticeable. For Morrison, things specifically designed to attract attention are often dissatisfying and lacking a certain something.

Pivotal designs, those we often value most, are typically those everyday tools found at home and work, on our travels and in play. Such designs can be looked on as normal and super. In a book titled Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary, Jasper Morrison and Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa present a collection of objects that are commonplace and discrete; our interactions with such objects are usually automatic and unconscious. ‘Super Normal’ was initially a 2006 exhibition at Axis Gallery in Tokyo, where Morrison and Fukasawa curated a selection of objects, from the famous and well known to the less well known.

RELATED: Arne Jacobsen: A Perfectionist Modernist

In the aforementioned book, Silvana Annicchiarico, Design Curator at the La Triennale di Milano, observed: “The Super Normal object can be defined by something that is not present. Or something it doesn’t have. Style, identity, originality, remarkableness. Anything that can be seen as excellence, or as an unmistakably connotative brand, is incompatible with the status of the Super Normal object.” (from Super Normal: Sensations of the Ordinary, p. 5).

Examples of Super Normal designs by Jasper Morrison:

Pon (2016). With Pon there is no decoration or superfluous detail, just a table. Pon is available in several sizes and finishes and is manufactured by Fredericia.
Pon (2016). With the Pon table there is no decoration or superfluous detail, just a table. Pon is available in several sizes and finishes and is manufactured by Fredericia. Image via Fredericia.
December Armchair (2016). Jasper Morrison and Japanese designer Wataru Kumano designed the December armchair for Nikari, a Finnish manufacturer of sustainable wood design products.
December Armchair (2016). Jasper Morrison and Japanese designer Wataru Kumano designed the December armchair for Nikari, a Finnish manufacturer of sustainable wood design products.
Ando's Glasses (2014). Simple handblown drinking glasses produced by Ando Gallery, Japan. Photo: Ando Gallery.
Ando’s Glasses (2014). Simple handblown drinking glasses produced by Ando Gallery, Japan. Photo: Ando Gallery.
Rotary Tray (2014). This multifunctional plastic tray was designed for Vitra and has a rotating top tray. Photo: Miro Zagnoli.
Rotary Tray (2014). This multifunctional plastic tray was designed for Vitra and has a rotating top tray. Photo: Miro Zagnoli.
AC-01 Alarm Clock (2011). Designed for Punkt.
AC-01 Alarm Clock (2011). Designed for Punkt.
DP-01 Dect Phone (2010). A cordless phone designed for Punkt.
DP-01 Dect Phone (2010). A cordless phone designed for Punkt.
Plate Bowl Cup (2008). A range of everyday ceramics designed for Alessi. Photo: Santi Caleca.
Plate Bowl Cup (2008). A range of everyday ceramics designed for Alessi. Photo: Santi Caleca.
Pipe Chair (2008). Pipe is made using tubular aluminium with a seat and back in sheet aluminium (with holes for outdoor use) or high-pressure resinated plywood (for indoor use). Photo: Jasper Morrison Studio.
Pipe Chair (2008). Pipe is made using tubular aluminium. The chair’s seat and back are made with sheet aluminium (with holes for outdoor use) or high-pressure resinated plywood (for indoor use). Photo: Jasper Morrison Studio.
Oak Module (2006). Produced by Cappellini, this family of solid oak low tables is available in three sizes. Photo: Walter Gumiero.
Oak Module (2006). Produced by Cappellini, these solid oak low tables are available in three sizes. Photo: Walter Gumiero.
Bus Stop (2006). A pair of bus shelters that were designed for the main road near Vitra's Weil am Rhein site.
Bus Stop (2006). A pair of bus shelters that were designed for the main road near Vitra’s Weil am Rhein site.
Cork Bowl (2005). This versatile bowl is made using the waste from cork wine bottle stoppers.
Cork Bowl (2005). This versatile bowl is made using the waste from cork wine bottle stoppers.
Tray Family (2001). A range of spun stainless-steel trays, bowls and an ashtray, designed for Alessi.
Tray Family (2001). A range of spun stainless-steel trays, bowls and an ashtray, designed for Alessi.
Hannover Tram (1997). Photo: Miro Zagnoli / Üstra.
Hannover Tram (1997). Photo: Miro Zagnoli / Üstra.

MP01 Mobile Phone

Jasper Morrison designed the MP01 Mobile Phone for Swiss-based technology venture Punkt, where he is also the brand’s art director. Launched in late 2015, the MP01 is a smart (as in dapper) mobile phone, but not a smartphone. It was conceived by Morrison and Punkt as a straightforward, no-nonsense, ‘old-style’ device that offers the facility to call and text from a handset that is beautiful to hold, small, sturdy and oh-so handsome. By its very nature, the MP01 eliminates the self-inflicted distractions we encounter on our smartphones: the ceaseless checking of social media apps, responding to emails, snapping pics and so on. In designing the MP01, Morrison and Punkt created a mobile phone that sets one free from the impediments and demands of a smartphone, with extras limited to a monthly view calendar, alarm clock, bespoke ringtones and bluetooth connectivity. The MP01 is Morrison’s superior version of the Super Normal mobile.

RELATED: Remembering Richard Sapper: The Creative Industrial Designer

MP01 Mobile Phone. Image via Punkt.
MP01 Mobile Phone. Image via Punkt.
MP01. Photo by Daniel Stockhaus. Image via Punkt.
MP01. Photo by Daniel Stockhaus. Image via Punkt.
The MP01 is available in three hues: black, brown and white. Image via Punkt.
The MP01 is available in three hues: black, brown and white. Image via Punkt.

All images via Jasper Morrison except where otherwise credited.

Liked the story? Share it with friends.

What do you think?

Booking.com