Robert Dudley Best
In the 1920's young Robert Dudley Best was heir to to the world's largest lighting factory in Birmingham, founded in 1840. In spite of the proud
history he felt that the lamp designs of the factory were outdated.
In 1925 Robert visited the International Exhibition of Modern Design in Paris. Many of the designs exhibited were greatly influenced by the work of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. After that, he began his studies of industrial design in Dusseldorf, Germany and Paris, France. Here he became close friends with the founder of the Bauhaus movement, Walter Gropius. By the end of his studies he designed his Bestlite.
In 1930, when Robert returned to Birmingham, he was determined to put the Bestlite into production. As the design was so different from the factory's traditional designs it took a while before his father would approve a trial production.
Although Robert had great expectations for the Bestlite, the first lamps did not quite end up where he expected. They were sold to auto repair shops and the Royal Air Force where they were appreciated for their functionality.
A few also found their way to visionary architect's desks. This led to a feature article in the prominent magazine "Architect's Journal" where Bestlite was featured as the first British Bauhaus manifestation. The interest soon increased dramatically, and when Winston Churchill chose Bestlite for his desk in Whitehall, the success was inevitable.
Loved by architects and designers the Bestlite is frequently used today in hotels and restaurants. But most of all Robert's Bestlite is found in the homes of people who appreciate the genuine and independent design.