British designer James Irvine was born in London in 1958 and died in Milan in 2013. He attended Kingston Polytechnic Design School until 1981. He then attended the Royal College of Art until 1984. After graduating, he went to Milan and worked under Italian designer Ettore Sottasass in the design department of Olivetti.
In 1987 he went to Japan to work for the Toshiba company for a year. Upon his return, he founded his own design studio in Milan, where he worked until the end of his life. From 1993 to 1997 he was a partner at Sottsass Associati.
James Irvine was a versatile designer. He designed a wide variety of things, from sofas and light fixtures to bus shelters, tables, chairs and garlic presses. While primarily an industrial designer, Irvine's diverse portfolio features very different products. In 1999, for the Expo in Germany in 2000, he created a bus design for a Hanover transportation company. The Irvine Citaro, a Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus, enjoyed great popularity then and now. Irvine's influence can still be seen to some extent today in the designs of various public transport companions.
James Irvine has a number of well-known clients. These include Thonet, B&B Italia, Zumtobel, WMF, Ikea and Muji. In 2004 Irvine was elected Royal Designer for Industry in London. In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate in design from Kingston University. Since his death in 2013, his wife continued his design studio.