© Miro Zagnoli
James Irvine (b.1958, London – d. 2013, Milan) was a notable industrial designer who graduated in 1984 from The Royal College of Art, London. The same year he moved to Milan, Italy. From 1984 to 1992, he was a design consultant for the Olivetti design studio in Milan, designing industrial products under the direction of Michele De Lucchi and Ettore Sottsass. In 1987, via a cultural exchange organized by Olivetti, he worked for a year at the Toshiba Design Centre in Tokyo, undertaking design research for industrial products.
He returned to Milan in 1988 and opened his own design studio, whose first clients were Cappellini and SCP. From 1993 to 1998, in parallel with his work at his studio, he was a partner of Sottsass Associati Milan and was responsible for the industrial design group. In 2000, he completed the design of the new city bus for the Hannover transport system, Üstra, 131 of which were built by Mercedes Benz. In 2004, he was the guest of honour at the Interieur fair in Kortrijk and was also elected an RDI (Royal Designer for Industry) by the Royal Society of Arts in London.
From 2005 to 2007, Irvine was professor for industrial design at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Design from Kingston University in 2007. In 2006, he founded James Irvine Srl in Milan, a design studio that has worked with various internationally-renowned companies, including Alfi, Alias, Arper, Artemide, B&B Italia, Canon, Coro, Foscarini, LG, Magis, Marsotto Edizioni, MDF Italia, Muji, Olivari, Olivetti, Pamar, Phaidon, Ströer, Thonet, Whirlpool, WMF and Zumtobel.