Robert Dudley Best
Robert Dudley Best (1892-1984) was heir to the world's largest lighting manufacturing company Best & Lloyd, founded in Birmingham in 1840. Despite the company's proud history of providing traditional lamps to a prestigious clientele, including Titanic and the Orient Express, Dudley Best was interested in a new collection that symbolised the spirit of the new age by appealing to the more avant-garde architects and setting a new agenda for lamp design.
Robert Dudley Best, a keen design enthusiast on top of his prominence as a young industrialist, spent the 1920's travelling around Europe meeting designers and furthering his interest in modernist movement. After visiting the Exhibition of Modern Design in Paris in 1925, where many of the designs exhibited were influenced by the work of Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, he enrolled at the School of Industrial Design in Düsseldoft and in Paris. Interested in breaking the barriers between industrial and artistic merit, Dudley Best's ideals were shared by his friend Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus movement. It was during this period that Dudley Best made the first sketches of what would become the iconic Bestlite design.
Robert Dudley Best was strongly influenced by Bauhaus, which was taking Europe with storm with its stringent lines and clean style. Following Bauhaus principles, Dudley Best had done away with the trimmings and detail of traditional Best & Lloyd products; he had both commercial and domestic use in mind and believed that lighting should be functional and practical as well as elegant. With this in mind, he returned to Birmingham in 1930, determined to put his Bestlite lamp design into production.