what will be design classics in the future

There were a couple years when I lusted after 50’s modern furniture and products. It seemed amazing that the design great’s of the mid century could make designs that seemed to be just as relevant and aesthetic today as they were then.

What do you think are today’s classic designs, done in the last 10 yrs or so, that will become a design classic in the future?

This would be products that will look just as nice in 2060+ as they did when first produced. Here’s a couple older designs to spark some thoughts:

  • Cars, Products, packaging, & Footwear are all fair game

I imagine Apple products will become like old typewriters are now.

Probably totally out of date but still a joy to look at and use.

Also I think the Miura chair by Konstantin Grcic is pretty timeless. Just for how interesting it looks and how honest it is to the manufacturing process.

I don’t think that many technology based products will be usable in 50 years. This kind of stuff dates pretty fast. Who still has a computer with a floppy drive?

Future design classics? If you find out, post here so I can invest.

The IKEA Urban chair. Democratic, stylish, inexpensive, rugged.

Ha - that’s half what I was thinking too. :wink: seems like something like furniture or timepieces might last a little longer

It’s funny, because you would think something as iconic as the macitosh would be a modern classic, and it is, but I had one once and couldn’t give it away (Frog scars or not)

I think some classics will be the Aaron Chair and maybe some of the Nike Jordan’s. There is a possibility that they may continue to make some tech products with updated internals to meet future needs but retain the classic look of the product. Also I think people will cling to CDs like they do records now. Part of my thought on the CDs is that they do have the best sound for the package size. Records might be better but CDs are very clear and much smaller then a record. These are my initial thoughts on this topic. I think the topic is very interesting.

Is there a chance that there are more products at a higher quality coming out now, so the 50’s design objects are pulling from a smaller pool of designs? Is the time right after WWII more hopeful and aspirational than other periods?

Maybe the MOMA Permanent Collection is the place to look… I did a search in “Architecture and Design”(no product section) and it pulled up quite a few…

here’s another nice one…


Pontiac Solstice
'06-'10 Prius
2010 Ford Fusion
CTS V Coupe
2010 Mustang
Mk6 VW Rabbit
2012 Honda Insight

Is this todays Eames shell chair? Ubiquitous, simple, colorful, livable. I have a few. I see them in cafe’s for outdoor seating frequently as well. I like the idea of an IKEA piece becoming a classic.

I think the Bell & Ross Instrument 01 will be a classic (not furniture I know)

Some of the Blu Dot products could also go classic. The folded sheet metal stuff for example.

Tivoli radios

Konstantin Grcic’s Chair One- I’m biased because I’m a huge fan, but these should be different enough and durable enough to stand out a long time from now.

I don’t think they have to be usable to be design classics right? In 50 years I might still admire a macbook pro for its beautiful design and the memory of the experience I had using it.

I think thats how a lot of people feel about typewriters. They remember fondly what it was like to use them. Even though I never used one properly, I still appreciate a old typewriter, working or not, for its mechanical and aesthetic charm.

Uh, yes they do. You’re making a lot of incorrect assumptions.

Why is that? Do explain. Perhaps our definitions of design classics are different.

Epic, you are making the incorrect assumption that everyone beys your personal assumptions.

They don’t have to be functional in my book. Not in the literal everyday sense. A Model T is not a functional commuter, still a design classic. The Macintosh is a design classic, not that you would use one. I have an old donut phone on a shelf at home, it isn’t connected, it wouldn’t do what I need it to do, it is still a classic. On my desk are several transistor radios from the 60’s and another old phone. I’ve never even tried to see if they work…

agreed on Gric stuff in general

This is a fun one.

Think simpler. Simple designs will last the test of time.

BTW- Travisimo: I own that mortar and pestle, one of my favorite products. I love the visual beauty and the beautiful function/experience.

Great points Taylor…

It doesn’t even have to be technologically non-functional to qualify I’d say. Case in point -

I and probably every designer on earth has one, and I’d guess less than 2% ever even try to use it. (I tried once, but it didn’t work so great).


Ettore Sottsass had a great quote on this topic; wish I could find it now.

The gist of it is, “he gradually turned away from conventional Modernism on the grounds that the only design not valid for today is that which claims to be ‘timeless’ and has pretensions to some sort of moral mission, e.g. the Bauhaus philosophy.”

When read in the context of his Memphis work its easy to dismiss this idea, but the essential thing that creates a design classic is a perfect execution of the zeitgeist, the feeling of the age. Thus the things striving for timelessness (he says) never get there, while the things that are completely now live forever.

The Eames chairs, yo’s phone, even the Mac fit within this description.

Big fat “no” on the Juicy Salif. Those things are a complete waste of mineral resources. On the subject of juicing technology, I can totally get behind the Sunbeam MixMaster Model 5 - which by the way has a killer juicing attachment, and even made it onto a postage stamp:

Of course this is about today, so that doesn’t count…