Company that produces light bulbs, household appliances, audio equipment, medical equipment and other electronic appliances. During the 1950s, a group of industrial designers was connected to the factory with the task of giving recommendations on form and colour for radio, television and small household appliances. Another design department was occupied with giving advice to others who requested it. In an article in the magazine Economische voorlichting (1958), the company claimed that the products developed from a close collaboration between science, technique, and design, and that the stage in which a designer is involved in a product varies according to the nature of the product. However, it is the commercial expert ‘who ultimately decides whether the design is accepted or rejected or who requests specific changes’. Louis Kalff was the art director.
During the 1960s, Philips took over many existing companies, such as Van der Heem, Indola and Rudolf Blik. Under Kalff’s successor Rein Veersema, the design department expanded. The people who worked there included Joop van Osnabrugge and Frans van der Put, while there was also a design department in The Hague for the sub-brands of the acquired factories, where Joop Istha worked. When Veersema left in 1964 because he had a different view on industrial design within the company than that of the Board of Directors, Frans van der Put became interim manager of the Corporate Industrial Design Centre (CIDC), as the department was now called. The Norwegian Knut Yran was put in charge in 1966. In the May 2005 issue of Product, Van der Put recalled that Philips wanted an international figure, and he called Yran dictatorial and charismatic. He was succeeded by Bob Blaich, followed by Stefano Marzano in 1991. In 1994, this resulted in a series of remarkable household appliances in collaboration with the Italian company Alessi, and seven years later the coffee machine Senseo, designed by WAAC’s Design, became an phenomenal success. At the request of Dingeman Kuilman, Fred Smeijers designed the lettering and fonts for Philips machines in the late 1990s.
The Dutch version of this biography is taken from the book Visies op vormgeving, het Nederlandse ontwerpen in teksten deel 2: 1940-2000 (2008) by Frederike Huygen. The following sources have been used for this biography:
– an. ‘Industriële vormgeving in de praktijk. Het woord is aan: Philips, Eindhoven’, Economische Voorlichting 52 (1958) 3, pp. 16-17.
– Vreeburg, G. ‘Interview met Joop Istha’, 5 September 1986.
– Huygen, F. ‘Design bij Philips: product, strategie en identiteit’, in: Krol, A., Rijk, T. de (ed.), Jaarboek Nederlandse vormgeving 03/04, Rotterdam 2004, pp. 50-61.
– Eger, A.O. ‘Jan Lucassen’, Product (2005) Nov., pp. 12-14.