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LONDON, United Kingdom – Creating a great experience once is exciting. Making a million experiences equally satisfying is where the hard work starts. An exhibition at London’s Design Museum shows where more than 20 years of Nokia design has taken the world; untethering people across the globe from the local restrictions of their lives, and opening up new opportunities. 

“Nearly everyone has a relationship with Nokia,” explains Principal Designer Stephen White who has curated the show. “There’s a strong fondness for the Nokia brand, whether it’s because your first phone was a Nokia, or for some other reason.”

The exhibition, ‘People Made – Nokia products that changed the world’, charts some of those transformations, starting with the first mass market digital handset, the Nokia 1011 in 1992, through to the first WAP phone, the Nokia 7110, and the first multi-media handset, the Nokia N95. 

Now, of course, we have the Nokia N9 and the new Nokia Lumia

There’s even a display of old office relics from the 1990s, in case you’ve forgotten what creaky fax machines and pens and paper used to look like. 

Nokia design 2

For people the changes have been about increasing mobility, creating new ways to interact with technology and each other, and using Nokia products that lead the way in being sustainable and reusable.

At the heart of all of this though lies great craft: “We’ve been making amazing mobile products at phenomenally high volume for 25 years,” Stephen White says, “What we want to talk about in this exhibit is that we do all of that on a massive scale while never forgetting the priority Nokia places on design.”  

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A triptych film in the exhibition screens a discussion between some of Nokia’s top designers. They agree that you can’t stamp out a Nokia phone like a cookie cutter; it’s got to be desirable and personal – and available to everyone. Their job is part-designer, part fortune teller – predicting what the world might look like in five or ten years time: “It’s kind of like shooting cannon balls, all we know is that some small change will have a radical effect on people’s lives.” 

‘People Made – Nokia products that changed the world’ is at the Design Museum in London until November 2nd. Next year, the exhibition will be part of the World Design Capital – Helsinki 2012.