At IRORI we believe in bringing you timeless and inspirational goods that combine high-quality craftsmanship and thoughtful design; brands that have a story to tell and designers that have created pieces that are considered and perennial in approach. For this reason, we stock plenty of pieces that are considered classics, but what is a design classic and why should you invest? Read on to find out more.

What is a design classic?

While there is plenty of beautifully designed decor out there, what is it that makes something a “classic”? Who defines when something has made it to that point? Well, time does.

A design classic is a manufactured object with timeless aesthetic value, looking just as contemporary now as they did when they were first designed. Typically produced in the 19th and 20th century, these pieces will have had a lasting impact on society, a style movement or later designs, and will often be seen in any manner of interior styles. Design classics tend to be simple, well crafted and most importantly, iconic.

Why should you invest?

If you’re thinking about investing in some design classics for your home, here’s six reasons why we think they’re a worthwhile investment.

Design classics don’t date.

The beauty of a design classic is that it doesn’t age. These investment pieces will look just as good in 60 years time as they do today. Whether you’re picking up a mid-century modern desk or a classic French bureau, you’ll be able to work it into your home with ease.

They’re made to last.

A design classic is a mix of luxury style, vision and innovation, high-quality materials and skilled craftsmanship. What does that all equal? Longevity. Thanks to the highlighted status, you’ll also find yourself caring for these pieces more, ensuring that they last your lifetime and beyond.

Which means they’re sustainable.

As we become more aware of the environmental issues, sustainability and what goes into making our products, considering your purchases has never been more vital. Thanks to the long-lasting nature of design classics, and the fact that you can pass them down through generations, this is one of the more sustainable methods of shopping for furniture and interior decor.

They combine form and function.

Design classics are not only aesthetically pleasing objects, they’re also highly functional. “Form follows function” is a principle associated with these late 19th and early 20th century designs, so you’ll find most abided by this design rule. Take the Vitrini boxes by Iittala, winner of 2012 iF Golden Design Award; these slick coffee table pieces are also useful, storing knick-knacks and mementoes.

They tell a story.

With such a high level of craft involved in creating a design classic, there’s always a story to tell. From glassblowing techniques to the life of designers such as Le Corbusier and Alvar Aalto, if you’re prepared to read up on the background of each piece, you’ll always have a conversation starter at dinner parties.

They don’t have to be expensive.

While a design classic can be very expensive (they are often first editions, special editions or very small series), you can invest in smaller pieces or shop second-hand items. We stock a wide range of affordable modern classics that will suit any budget. The beauty of design classics is that they don’t lose value over time, so even if you do have to splurge in the first instance, you’re likely to make more money if you were to ever sell.

Shop our design classics.

Here at IRORI, we stock a number of design classics and future classics. Shop our favourites here.

Alvar Aalto Vase by Iittala | £129.00

Iittala is well known for the design classics it has to offer, but not least the iconic Savoy vase designed by the legendary Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Inspired by waves, each Aalto glass vase is individually mouth-blown at the Iittala Glass Factory in Finland. You can use them for all manner of things, so don’t just stop at flowers.

Picto Wall Clock by Rosendahl | £42.50

Designed in 1984, the Picto wall clock is a modern classic that’s perfect for minimal apartments or those with an affinity towards Scandinavian design. While traditional clocks indicate the time with ticking hands, the Picto clock features a rotary dial on which sits the minute and hour hand. The hour hand is represented by the fixed dot.

Tank Decanter by Tom Dixon | £109.00

The handcrafted Tank decanted by renowned designer Tom Dixon is a future classic that you’ll want to get your hands on, alongside the rest of the Tank range of course. Taking its sculptural cue from the functional shapes and volumes of scientific glassware, this tank decanter will add timeless style to your bar cart.

Hammershøi Vase 250mm by Kähler | £63.90

Colours, functionality and design have all contributed to the massive success of the Hammershøi range by Kähler. Inspired by artist Svend Hammershøi’s original works from the beginning of the 20th century, the iconic furrows championed in this vase give the design a balanced and organic quality.

Fluted Contrast Mug by Royal Copenhagen | £19.50

The decorative fluting used in Royal Copenhagen designs was first introduced in 1775 and is once again a very popular design theme in today’s market. The design is elegant, modern and functional, paying homage to Danish minimalism. Yes, even your mugs can be design classics.



IRORI is an online retail store centred around the home and as an extension, ones wellbeing. From bedroom to headroom we believe in surrounding oneself in timeless and inspirational goods and encourage this by bringing together brands that have the highest standards of quality both in design and craftsmanship. Shop our curation of goods here.