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Prototype For A Space Heater (England)

This is a Prototype for a space heater. It was designed by Bill Moggridge and made for (as the client) Hoover, Ltd.. It is dated 1973 and we acquired it in 2010. Its medium is sheet metal, extruded aluminum, compression molded phenolic plastic, wood. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This electric space heater prototype was designed in 1973 by Bill Moggridge. A departure from the black- or beige-box modernism of many industrial design objects of the period, this heater combines rational design with emotional appeal in a highly utilitarian object.
The heater is roughly the size of a large book. At first glance, it appears to be a minimal, rectangular outline. The solid black base with controls and the gently undulating red top and sides, however, comprise a form that expresses its essential function: warm air circulation. Air is drawn in through the side vents, compressed, and pushed out through the front by the heat exchanger. The colors and curves create a striking emotive quality, fitting for an object that provides warmth and comfort, and reflect the designer’s consideration for the people who would use the heater in their homes. Looking almost like red waves of heat, the form also shows a sense of humor. Moggridge and his London-based firm, Moggridge Associates, designed the heater for Hoover Ltd., but it was never manufactured.
The heater prototype was featured in Cooper-Hewitt’s Design USA exhibition (2009–10), which celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the National Design Awards (NDA) by showing the work of past winners. Moggridge, also the designer of the first laptop computer, the GRID Compass, and a pioneer in the field of interaction design, won the 2009 NDA award for Lifetime Achievement. Moggridge co-founded the Palo Alto based design consultancy IDEO and was the recipient of the prestigious British title, Royal Designer for Industry. He was among the first designers to integrate human factors into hardware and software design. His book and website, Designing Interactions, tells the story of how interaction design is transforming our daily lives.
This prototype heater would help grow the museum’s collection of industrial design from the 1970s and would contribute to our collection of representative works by NDA finalists and winners.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Red-Hot!.

This object was donated by Bill Moggridge. It is credited Gift of Bill Moggridge.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 15.2 x 38.1 x 27.9 cm (6 x 15 x 11 in.)

Cite this object as

Prototype For A Space Heater (England); Designed by Bill Moggridge (English, 1943–2012); Client: Hoover, Ltd. (United Kingdom); sheet metal, extruded aluminum, compression molded phenolic plastic, wood; H x W x D: 15.2 x 38.1 x 27.9 cm (6 x 15 x 11 in.); Gift of Bill Moggridge; 2010-22-2

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Design USA: Contemporary Innovation.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Prototype For A Space Heater (England) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>