From Simon Thurley’s fascinating Buildings That Shaped Britain we learn that Isambard Kingdom Brunel had only once travelled on a train when he designed the gloriously non-standard Great Western Railway from London Paddington to Bristol.
Now that, for good or ill, is the difference between innovation and design.
There are places a cameraphone just cannot, umm, go. Places like the men’s toilets at King’s Cross Station. (Stay with me on this one.)
There you’ll find a sticking plaster product design solution that would be at home in a Don Norman book: a hand-dryer so sleekly built into the wall that someone’s sellotaped the laser-printed word “HAND-DRYER” in Times New Roman bold caps onto its brushed steel surface.
[is it the same in the ladies? reports from the other 51% of the King’s Cross traveller population would be much appreciated].
At this point, I’d inline a picture to show you what I mean – but taking photos in the men’s toilets at King’s Cross would be wrong on so many levels.
Update: 2 December 2007 – apparently there’s now one of these in the gent’s at Leeds Station, and I shall shortly be parting with 20p to investigate. Unlikely that pictures will follow. Also (have to be careful how I say this) I stumbled upon Clive Grinyer blogging on the toilet. As it were.