Mr. Visionary Himself: Chuck Harrison


Somehow we missed this the other day, but no matter, as we’re reading it now and that’s the important thing. The Washington Post recently had this terrific feature story on uber industrial designer, Chuck Harrison, to correspond with his receiving both an Industrial Designers Society of America award and the lifetime achievement honor at the recent FocusOnDesign conference, as well as his new book: “A Life’s Design: The Life and Work of Industrial Designer Charles Harrison.” The piece is a great peak at one of the most important figures in product design that many, many people haven’t been fortunate enough to have ever heard of. Here’s some:

Though Harrison’s list of credits is long, his favorite is a garbage can, the first to be made in plastic, that softened the sounds of trash day. “No more clang-clang” of metal before breakfast, he said in an interview yesterday. The round container evolved shortly into the familiar square green hulk with two wheels and raccoon-proof lid.

In an age of iPods and feature-laden cellphones, trash cans may rank low on the fashion scale. But Harrison’s goal has always been changing fundamentals — improving the way people live. “It’s not necessary to have your name on the marquee to make a contribution,” he says.