Robert Dudley Best
Born:1892 - Died:1984
Best-known work: The Bestlite lamp
Training: Industrial Designer
At one time, Robert Dudley Best was heir to the biggest lightning company in the world – Best & Lloyd, which was founded in Birmingham in 1840. The company was very successful and provided lamps to the Titanic and The Orient Express among others.
But Best was not interested in old traditions and looked for new and exciting developments out in the world.
In the 1920’s he travelled in Europe and visited The Exhibition of Modern Design in Paris in 1925. There met the greatest modernist designers in the world - Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier - and was fascinated with their way of designing.
Best really wanted to make something useful and without a lot of unnecessary features. In the same period he also met Walter Gropius, a German designer and later the leader of the modernist school in Germany – Bauhaus.
This is also the period when Best created the first sketches for the Bestlite lamp. He came home to England and presented the idea to his father, who was not impressed. It took quite a bit of convincing but Bestlite eventually went into production, athough initially it was only bought by auto shops and the Air Force.
The breakthrough came when the lamp was shown in Architects Journal, and later on British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had a Bestlite lamp on his desk. Churchill reportedly always took the lamp with him on his travels.
Today, almost 90 years after the birth of Bestlite, the lamp is still a great success. The lamp is currently produced by the Danish design brand GUBI, and the lamp is still as beautiful and stylish as it was back then.