Earlier this year the Victoria & Albert museum held an exhibition entitled British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age celebrating the best of British post-war design. The marketing blurb for the exhibition stated; "Britain has long been a pioneer of new ideas, particularly in the areas of industrial design and technology. Innovation has characterised British design. British designers have stood at the forefront of change. In so doing, they have created some of the most iconic objects, technologies and buildings of the last 60 years."
And it's difficult to argue with those sentiments. At AGA stoves, they believe that when you combine tradition and heritage with great design and engineering you truly create innovation.
You only have to consider some of the great design icons - the Mini, the Dyson, and the internet. All of them created by British designers and all of them, in their own way, transforming peoples lives.So how does this creativity manifest itself in the world of cast iron stoves?
You might think that the world of cast iron stoves doesn't change very much. After all, why change something that has worked brilliantly for generations?
The simple answer is necessity, the mother of invention. It's not just fashion that influences design and it is often these influences which dictate the biggest changes. For example, there has been legislation which has had a massive effect on the design of cast iron stoves - The clean air act and Building Regulations to name a few.
AGA believe that by designing stoves that meet legislation, we are actually fostering innovation. By combining sustainability and practicality with form and function (as well as quintessential Britishness) you, more than often than not, end up with a design icon. AGA Stoves are not only designed to be robust, efficient and durable, they're also designed to last many years and defy the changing whims of fashion.
However, it is no good having products that look stunning, but do not function as well as intended. That's why AGA design and build their stoves from the ground up and test them vigorously. Technical Director David Carpenter explains "There are so many companies out there offering cheap and cheerful stoves and it's quite scary how some people will go on price alone when they choose one. But do home-owner's know what they're having installed? It might look like a nice product, yet the quality just isn't there. Poorly designed and badly manufactured - with no efficiency rating and very little attention paid to compliance and testing"