Obituary: James Gardner
Thursday 06 April 1995
From the most senior of the positions that he held he took pleasure in debunking the pompous. He once told me how much he enjoyed the title of his army job, Army Deception: he thought it neatly described the majority of armies' daily work. As a director of the Army Camouflage School he invented a phantom army of inflatable tanks, aircraft and ships, all real enough to convince the German watchers that our resources were vaster than they were. That work alone warranted a knighthood, astonishingly not bestowed.
He was so good at explaining anything, particularly through the medium of exhibitions, that great corporations stood in line until James was ready. Philips, I was once told, had waited three years for him to start on their brilliant lighting exposition at Eindhoven. He almost totally designed the greatest innovation in ocean liners, the QE2 - like so many of the enterprises of the golden age of British design, now taken for granted but, as history shows, immensely influential in the whole sector of travel.
Through his extraordinary life he remained an unsung hero, yet he will continue to affect the millions of visitors to the 16 museums that he designed. He truly understood the importance of giving pleasure through design and the extraordinary entertainment that he created in the Battersea Pleasure Gardens has never been approached for public success.
In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s his prodigious output gave example and enthusiasm to countless designers who were given these amazing demonstrations to follow: no one could, but all learnt immensely in the trying. He also leaves behind his book The ARTful Designer (1993) and this has to be required reading for anybody who can conceive that art should be a pleasure.
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 3 Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
If Surrey were Syria: Social experiment shows what it's like to live under siege
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...
£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...