RIP Jan Kaplicky

Confessions: Jan Kaplicky, originally uploaded by moleitau.

Missed this last week. One of my design heroes, Jan Kaplicky has died.

Met him when I was in college, and did my written thesis for B.Sc on the work of Future Systems.

Wrote my only published and paid review for Wired UK (original version) on his book “For Inspiration Only“. Operated his carousel of slides when he came to give a lecture to us at the Welsh School of Architecture. This was in the same format of the book – he would show two oppositional images, and jab you (verbally) in the ribs with an aphorism linking the two.

One that always stuck with me was him showing a moody, uplit black-and-white press portrait of Richard Meier in the cliché black-turtleneck and severe glasses in front of venetian blinds – eyes directed up and away in search of the future – very fountainhead.

Kaplicky rumbled: “This is not design”

He pointed at me to click the slide carousel forward. An image of a carpark full of Boeing employees, from design engineers to HR to office cleaners in 777 project t-shirts waving at the camera.

Kaplicky, now beaming, crookedly: “This. This is design.”

Over warm white wine after the talk, he leant over and said to me “When you see a bumpy road, take it”.

Trying to.

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