David Lewis 1939-2011
Words by Torsten Valeur
Londoner David Whitfield Lewis met his fate the day he met Danish au pair Marianne. The two would marry and the couple moved to Denmark in the 1960s.
Originally, David wanted to be a furniture designer. But the class at London’s Central School of Art and Design was full, so instead he decided on an education as an industrial designer. He had a keen interest in Danish design and architecture so moving to Denmark after his graduation was an easy choice.
David founded David Lewis Designers in Copenhagen, and from this studio he would live to design an impressive range of products. In the early 1980s, Bang & Olufsen made David Lewis their chief designer. This unique freelance relationship resulted in numerous international design icons.
David was the man of the studio – and in many ways he still is. Working with David was like working with a master, but we were never the master’s slaves. With his sparkling creativity and vitality David was always very involved in our projects. He could turn things upside down and chase the yet unseen. He brought a tireless desire to change the conventions and to go new ways. He never asked “Why?” but always “Why not?”
David Lewis is currently represented with three Bang & Olufsen products in the permanent design collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York. These products carry his name while several others carry his mark.
2007: Honorary fellow, RIBA, Royal Institute of British Architects
2003: Danish Design Council Annual Prize
2002: Knight of the Dannebrog, Denmark
1995: Royal Designer for Industry, London
1994: The Danish ID prize
1994: The Japanese G-mark Design Award
1993: The Japanese G-mark Design Award
1992: The Japanese G-mark Prix
1991: The Japanese G-mark Design Award
1990: The Danish ID prize
1990: The Japanese G-mark Design Award
1989: The Japanese G-mark Design Award
1982: The Danish ID prize
1976: The Danish ID prize