James Irvine

Honorary: Doctorate
Position: Designer 1958-2013


James Irvine was born in London in 1958. After graduating from Kingston Polytechnic Design School in 1981, he went on to study at the Royal College of Art, London.

In 1984 he moved to Milan Italy to work as design consultant for Olivetti design studio Milan designing industrial products under the direction of Michele De Lucchi (Honorary Doctorate 2006) and Ettore Sottsass. In 1987, for a cultural exchange organised by Olivetti, he worked for one year at the Toshiba Design Centre in Tokyo conducting research for industrial products. He returned to Milan in 1988 and opened his private design studio. Clients included Cappellini, CBI, BRF and SCP.

From 1993 to 1997 in parallel to his private studio he was a partner of Sottsass Associati Milan and was responsible for the industrial design group. In 1999 he completed the design of the new city bus for the Hanover transport system Üstra. 131 buses have been built by Mercedes Benz. In 2004 he was guest of honour at the fair Interieur in Kortrijk and was also elected RDI (Royal Designer for Industry) by the Royal Society of Arts in London.

James Irvine was professor for industrial design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. His design studio in Milan continues to work with various internationally renowed companies including Alfi, Artemide, B&B Italia, Canon Japan, Coro, Duravit, Foscarini, Magis, MDF Italia, Muji, Olivari, Olivetti, Plank, Thonet, Whirlpool, and Wmf.

One of industrial design's greats, James Irvine inspired a generation of young designers both here at Kingston and across the world.