Remembering Bill Moggridge, a different era in design

Tonight I heard that Bill Moggridge had passed away last night. Or rather, I learnt it from a kind reply to my shocked question. I came here thinking I’d be able to write about my last distinct memory of him, having lunch with me in the sun, outside the Gallery Cafe in San Francisco, that looks across at the Cable Car Museum. It was May 2007 and I was leaving the country. He thought I should stay but I wasn’t in a headspace to listen to him back then. In fact, all those times I turned him down are regretfully flitting through my mind now. He was a generous, courtly and kind man. A friendly face when sometimes it felt like there was none. I will mourn his passing. And since I find myself struggling for words with which to honour him with, here are my original thoughts from the very first time that I met with him. I had a sprained ankle. He held an umbrella over me.

Today I had lunch with Bill Moggridge followed by an hour of rampant brainstorming with David Kelley at IDEO, Palo Alto. The funny part is that these were two seperate meetings set up for two entirely different reasons. It just so happened that when I sprained my ankle badly last Saturday (the 1st of April, Fool that I was…) I had to reschedule the meeting Bill Moggridge had requested.

Meeting two such personages (there’s no other word, really) in the industry in which you live and breathe in can be overwhelming. Especially when it’s such an adventure! My biggest surprise, though why it should be one, I don’t know, was just how nice and kind they were. Here I am, a cog in the grand wheel, and they, at least the gears that direct the motion yet their courtesy and down to earth sheer niceness was what blew me away.

After being exposed to the phenomena of rockstar designers, it is eye opening to meet with the real stars of design.

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