James Irvine

talks about bossy clients, waiting for the royalties, and the “virtues” of Sarah Palin.

Job description
An industrial designer, not an artist

Current Projects
Art director of Thonet Germany, consultant to Muji Japan,
restoring motorcycles, and, of course, watching my sons grow up

Why do you do what you do?
Because I don’t have a boss—but some of my clients are bossy.

First step on a project
Leave it on one side for a few days

Last step on a project
Waiting for the royalties

How do you break a creative block?
Work on a different project

It really started after I left college and has never stopped.

Happy friends

World-saving mission
Unfortunately, I am convinced that mankind is too selfish to save the world. We should all learn to do as little damage as possible.

First act as “design czar”
What is a design czar?

Dream team
The Beatles

Office chair
It’s a secret what I sit on. But I would like to have the FS by Wilkhahn—over 20 years old and still beautiful.

Office sound track
There is only the “blooong” of the Macs in the morning. I prefer to work without music, much to the aggravation of my assistants. Sometimes to break the silence I put on “The Power,” by Snap!

Favorite tchotchke
A papier-mâche Ganesh

Most useful tool

Folding the corner over. Very naughty and disrespectful to books.

Best place to think
In bed when you wake up in the middle of the night

Current read
The biography of Hergé (for the second time)

Something old
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Something new
The Airbus A380

Favorite space
The Four Seasons restaurant in New York. Sorry, kind of obvious. It really is superb, though.

Guilty pleasure
My motorcycles

Barack Obama. (If this is too political, then “sleep.”)

Sarah Palin. (If this is too political, then “disco dancing.” I was never good at it.)

Learned the hard way
To swim. I was thrown in. Horrible.

Command-Z (undo)
Having smoked

Dream job
One where you are happy with yourself

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