The Rise of Jasper Morrison

Jasper Morrison’s success is made up of a series of great, covetable designs. Albert Hill relays the story of Morrison’s career through the objects we love the most.

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Whether it be a teapot, a table or a tram system, Jasper Morrison’s designs consistently display a simplicity, an honesty and an elegance that is rarely matched by his more prolific peers. The timeline of Morrison’s career is punctuated by some of the best contemporary designs around.

Born in London in 1959, Morrison was predicted a bright future long before he had even graduated. His 1985 degree show at the Royal College of Art was widely published in design magazines across the globe as editors found themselves seduced by the intelligence and restraint of Morrison’s epigrammatic products. Amidst the rampant Post-Modernism of the mid-1980s, Morrison was clearly the blast of cool air needed in an overheated design climate.

By 1986, Morrison was showing at Neotu, the prestigious Parisian gallery, and Giulio Cappellini and Sheridan Coakley of SCP had asked the young designer to work on pieces for production. Morrison didn’t disappoint with a range of chairs, tables and sofas that immediately became bestsellers.

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For the next decade, Morrison continued his inexorable rise towards the very top of the design pile, most notably designing his graceful Moon crockery for Rosenthal and a tram system for the city of Hanover (both 1997). Despite an aversion to publicity (preferring his products to do the talking) Morrison’s unfaltering ability to produce beautiful, practical products attracted increasing attention.

By 1998, even the monks at Le Corbusier’s La Tourette monastery in France had heard of him, as they asked Morrison to design a new set of chairs for their refectory.

Next, at the Milan Salone in 1999, ‘a vintage year’ according to Morrison, he presented the Low Pad chair (inspired by Poul Kjærholm’s PK22 chair of 1956), the Air chair, the Plan storage system and the Glo- Ball light. With such a stellar range of objects, Morrison proved he was at ease with both traditional production techniques (the glass of the Glo-Ball is hand blown) and more advanced methods of manufacturing (such as the gas injection process used for the Air chair).

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In 2000, Morrison produced a range of furniture for the new Tate Modern in London and set up a second studio in Paris. Despite the many offers of work that came flooding in, Morrison’s measured approach to design has only allowed him to pursue a small number of proposals over the past few years. Needless to say, however, all of them have been completed to the sort of gratifyingly high standards that we have come to expect of Jasper Morrison.

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Jasper Morrison's design ‘The Crate’ is being produced and manufactured by Established & Sons.

Words by Albert Hill
Photography by David Hughes

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