Top 5 iconic London designs
What with the Games, the suddenly glorious weather and a spruced-up city, London has never looked quite so fabulous. Here’s our top five most iconic London designs, without which our city just wouldn’t be the same.
1: The London black cab
New York may have its tooting yellow taxi, but arguably there is something inherently classic in the sleek design of the Hackney Carriage. The prestige of having to pass The Knowledge to become a black cab driver, the joy in seeing that bright orange light shining like a beacon on a rainy Friday night, the glamour of a doorman at an upmarket London hotel opening the taxi door for you – pure magic. Not to forget our very own East Village taxi…
2: The red London phone boxes
A result of a competition in 1924 to design a telephone box suitable to the London boroughs, the winning design was submitted by architect Giles Gilbert Scott. Despite changes over the years, not to mention a reduction in numbers thanks to mobile technology, the design remains as iconic as ever, with its cheerful red exterior photographed by thousands of tourists every day. However, the iconic red colour was an unwelcome addition to the box when it first appeared; the Post Office were forced to make it a uniform grey in areas of natural and historical beauty before it became a celebrated symbol of the London streets.
3: The Routemaster
An iconic design recently remastered under the watchful eye of Boris Johnson, the bright red double decker, built by the Associated Equipment in 1954, has become one of London’s most beloved symbols. Though the original version of the bus has been retired aside from on two heritage routes, the updated version was released this year to great acclaim. A new ‘green’ bus for London, the bus uses an electric motor powered by a battery pack.
4: The London Tube map
Created by draftsman Harry Beck in 1931, the London Tube Map is considered a design classic by many. Beck believed that passengers were more interested in how to get from one line to another than geographical accuracy. It was an immediate hit but of course not without its difficulties; as more and more Tube lines were added over the years, Beck struggled to keep control of unauthorised changes to the map. It wasn’t until the 1990s that Beck was truly acknowledged by London Regional Transport.
5: Westminster street signs
Recognisable the world over, London’s black and red lettered signs were copyrighted by Westminster City Council in just 2008, after they purchased it from the estate of Sir Misha Black’s, who designed the signs in the 1960s.From Abbey Road to Pall Mall, the instantly recognisable font, a sans serif typeface, is unique to the Westminster street signs and not available for use anywhere else in the world.
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