Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Steel Rings

"In 1968 Robin Cruikshank’s small design company began working for Apple. At that time its management included Neil Aspinal, Peter Browne, Derek Taylor and Ron Kass and of course the four members of the Beatles.

In 1969 Ringo moved house to Hampstead and Robin was called in to help him realise some of the designs that Ringo and Maureen required for their new home. First on the list was the stainless steel fireplace. Robin had just started prototyping a new steel and glass furniture collection, and Ringo was able to add his own design ideas and improvements to Robin’s initial concepts.Their mutual interest in hi fi also helped further inspire the process with some interesting off the wall results.

The Chairman of Cunard approached Ringo and Robin to ask if they could design a disco for one of their London Hotels. Ringo’s experience was invaluable on this project. Although the project was later abandoned by Cunard it had helped to cement a good working relationship and friendship between the pair.

A host of new designs were created and with all this activity it was agreed that they should see if they could reform Robin’s company, then called ROBIN Ltd, and rename it ROR Ltd. The logo would retain the big RED O but place a five pointed star over it and a R each side. Terms were agreed and a new company was born with a memorable and appropriate new logo! Ringo’s received a 51% stake and Robin a 49% stake, with any disagreements to be resolved by the toss of a coin!

ROR’s new offices were on the top floor of Apple in Saville Row, next door to Ringo’s own office. The ideas continued to flourish and a young architect was bought in to help with all the detail design, a pretty but very competent young secretary was employed to run the very necessary administration.

Liberty’s – the first exhibition

Robin had contacts in Liberty’s of Regent Street, where he had sold his earlier designs. Liberty’s asked if ROR would like to stage an exhibition. The then British Steel Corporation wanted to use ROR designs in its advertising campaign due to their interesting use of stainless steel and in particular Ringo’s Rolls Royce table

As a result of these two almost simultaneous approaches, British Steel’s advertising campaign and a wave of favourable media coverage got The Liberty Exhibition off to a wonderful start. Liberty’s attendance figures rose dramatically for the exhibition period and ROR virtually sold out.

Robin recalls that he, Ringo and the Liberty staff were assembling and putting the final touches to the items on display right up until the last hour before the exhibition opened. This left Ringo barely enough time to get dressed and get ready and collect Maureen for the opening launch party. During this period Apple moved from Saville Row to St James Street, where ROR were given a spectacular display window which they were able to use to good effect.

Exhibitions followed at Harvey Nicholls and again at Liberty’s. International exhibitions were held overseas in Paris, New York and even in Lagos!"


By request, here is a super-rare one-sided single recorded by Ringo in mid-1971 to promote the September exhibition at Liberty's:


1 comment:

  1. Wow ! I never thought I would hear this thing :-) I remember reading about it in a book as a kid that this was possibly the rarest Beatles record ever ! I wonder if the book was "All Together Now"..