Warren Street underground tiles

Design icons that define London (according to 999 Design)

12 Nov 2015

2 min read

The Design Museum’s director, Deyan Sudjic, has chosen 50 iconic designs that represent London for his new book - London in Fifty Design Icons by Deyan Sudjic & The Design Museum.

Inspired by the idea, some of team in the London studio have come up with a few ideas of their own.

Moquette designs used on London transport

- Lisa, Design Director

For me, something that instantly visually sums up 'London' are the moquette designs used on London's transport vehicles. Moquette is the material used – a hardwearing mix of wool and polyester – still woven in Yorkshire using traditional techniques. I love the graphic patterns and colours and that even the newer designs still have that retro feel. Obviously designed to disguise years and layers of dirt and who knows what else, to me they conjure up images of vintage tube travel and great traditional London days out like trips to the zoo, picnics in Hyde Park and shopping on Regent's Street.

Moquette seat covers in London underground

The Victoria line tiles

- Alex, Designer

Each station on the Victoria line has its own set of tiles along the platform walls that give each station a unique identity. I remember these from being a child and my mum taking me from Walthamstow Central to Highbury & Islington on the London underground. I remember drawing them from memory in art classes and having fun finding out what they each represented. I think they might be the first designs that I took onboard and tried to understand as a kid.

Warren Street underground tiles

St Pancras railway station

- Poppy, Account Director

My London icon of choice would be St Pancras. I love the classic Victorian architecture, the scale of the building and how even as a functional space it still maintains elegance and a real wow factor. To think that this was nearly demolished in the 1960s is shocking and proves how classic design can stand the test of time.

St Pancras Railway Station

Covent Garden underground station

- Oli Fisher, Designer

Out of all the 270 underground stations, Covent Garden station stands out for me the most. I really like how the platforms are designed, especially the tiled walls with two shades of yellow and white tiling which formed geometric shapes. One thing that isn’t so kind is the amount of steps that take you to ground level from the underground (thank god for lifts).

To see some really quirky and evocative images of London's underground over the years, check out Bob Mazzer's photographs on the Spitalfields Life website.

Covent Garden underground tiles

Picadilly Circus

- Jules, Office Manager

Mine would be Piccadilly Circus. It might not be Times Square but I love how it hasn’t changed that much over the years. The advertising technology used has obivously changed beyond recogition (the earliest adverts used incandescent light bulbs before neon signs arrived in the 1940s) but the main core remains the same.

Piccadilly Circus

Tower Bridge

- Imogen, Account Executive

There are a lot of bridges in and around London but Tower Bridge is definitely the most iconic. With a rich history, it is a globally recognised symbol of London and a real demonstration of enduring architecture that has brought us joy for decades - hopefully centuries!

Tower Bridge, London

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