5 classic designs that inspire Irene Pereyra

Irene Pereyra reveals why custom furniture, a poster and a pushbike are amongst her top sources of inspiration.

Irene Pereyra

This article is written by Irene Pereyra, who will be speaking at Generate New York. Buy your ticket today!

Artists find inspiration in all manner of places. Here, we've delved into the mind of Irene Pereyra, of New York-based design studio Anton & Irene to find out which items inspire her the most.

When at Fantasy Interactive, Pereyra led the strategy and UX initiatives for Fox.com, HTC.com, Verizon, BBC, EA, Google, Nickleodeon and Redbull to name a few. Her personal projects have been displayed in design conferences and festivals in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, New York and Singapore. Here, she reveals her ultimate design classics...

The Eames Lounge chair

The Eames Lounge chair and ottoman were first released in 1956 after years of development by designers Charles and Ray Eames

"I first sat in this chair when I was about 10-years-old. It was the first moment when I realised that everyday objects were actually designed, and that changed my life in many ways and started a life-long love affair with mid-century furniture design. There is something incredibly beautiful about design that is both aesthetically pleasing as well as practical and comfortable. There is nothing in the Eames Lounge chair that is superfluous. Everything is thoughtful and beautifully crafted."

Oma Fiets (Dutch Grandmother bike)

The Omafiets, originally designed in 1892, is one of the most popular choices of bike in the Netherlands

"Growing up in Amsterdam these bikes are so common, I used to take the design of them for granted. It wasn't until I moved to NYC and started riding around the city that I realized just how special this bike is.

"From the compliments I get on an almost daily basis, to the simple design features that make city bike riding comfortable and practical – to the protective covers on the rear tire which allow you to bike comfortably in the rain, to the lowered frame which makes getting on and off the bike in a skirt or long jacket a breeze, to the elevated steering wheel which let you weave in and out of traffic without having to physically turn your head, this bike has been completely optimized for city commuting and is the single most important design piece of my daily routine."

NYC Subway poster from Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli designed the New York City subway map for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1972

"When I was in grad school, I called Massimo Vignelli's design studio (he's in the phone book) to send me a copy of this iconic piece of design. When I didn't get a response, I spent days hunting around eBa to get an original copy of this 1972 subway map and it now hangs in my home studio. The beauty lies in its simplicity, the lines run at 45 and 90 degree angles only, which turns the organically messy subway system into a stylised utopian plan of New York."

Old Northwest Airlines logo

Northwest Airlines used the above logo from 1989-2003, created by design agency Landor Associates

"I am not a logo-head by any means but when a friend of mine asked me if I could see why the (old) Northwest logo was amazing and I took a very close look at it. I realised that the typography not only stylised the 'N' and the 'W', but the angle of the logotype also isolated a little arrow which actually points to the North-West.

"It's one of those subliminal things you don't see right away (like the arrow in the Fedex logo) but once I discovered it, I was truly blown away. It made me want to be there in the room when they finally 'got it right'."

Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair

The Wassily chair, also known as the Model B3 chair, was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-1926

"I spent months hunting down this chair on Craigslist but, since I was in grad school and didn't have much money, I wasn't able to pay the hefty price tag. After typing in keyword after keyword and getting insanely high price tags, I decided to search for 'leather and metal chair' instead. Low and behold a post came up from a woman in New Jersey who was selling two original Wassily chairs for $200 total.

"I convinced my friend to drive out to the middle of New Jersey and as we were driving into the MacMansion suburb I realised the seller probably had no idea that these chairs were iconic design pieces. When I walked in, she said, 'my dad had these weird uncomfortable chairs in his office in Manhattan. I am sorry they are so ugly and uncomfortable, so if you would like to take them with you now, I will give them to you for $100.'

"My jaw almost dropped to the floor when she showed them to me amongst her drab interior of Crate and Barrel furniture. I took them home right away and never did tell her the real story behind the chairs. Some people will never be wowed by them and that's okay. Beautiful design isn't always practical or for the masses."

Words: Irene Pereyra

You can see Pereyra speak at Generate New York – the conference for web designers presented by net magazine and Creative Bloq. This year's Generate will be packed with more top content from world-class speakers. Head over to the Generate site to find out more and buy your ticket today!