Design – British Design – Not What It Used to Be – NYTimes.com

Design – British Design – Not What It Used to Be – NYTimes.com.

This is another of those “silly season” NY Times articles. I agree with the sentiments but I also feel that nostalgia inevitably clouds our views of something new.

For the examples the author gives:

  • Concorde was designed by an Anglo-French consortium so it isn’t an example of “British Design”. It may have looked great but it was cramped inside. I think “First Class Suites” on a Boeing 747 are much more comfortable for the passenger.
  • I was too young to remember its introduction, but I bet people complained that the Routemaster bus (RM) wasn’t as good as the Regent (RT) and the trolley buses that it replaced. People may dislike the Mercedes-Benz Citaro “bendy buses” but they are wheelchair accessible, cool in summer, warm in winter and far better for the driver than the RM.
  • Indeed the external design of the British phone box is dignified. But I rememebr having to use them when I was at college. The nearest one to home was dark, cramped, drafty and smelled of urine. The balky coin box took 5p and 10p pieces but often cut you off in mid call.
  • We remember the Spitfire and Hurricane, but it was not a design that directly affected the ordinary people. Current fighter jets have an agressive grace of their own.
  • The classic mailbox looked great too. But I bet it was a bear to install because of its weight. And the postman probably got backache emptying it.

Quite probably many items we deride today will be revered in 50 years time.

I don’t see a lot of great design in Bangkok. The street signs are the only things that stand out.

Soi Sala Daeng 2

I wonder if people will remember Bangkok’s diesel buses fondly

BMTA Hino AK Bus at Victory Monument

when they are replaced by buses like this

Chinese Foton AUV Bus in Bangkok

I think the Hino AK is the best looking of the BMTA diesel bus fleet, but it’s hardly a design classic.

Can you think of other examples of good design in Bangkok?

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