Canon's pioneering T90 SLR (Pic: Mark Probst/Wikimedia Commons)

Luigi Colani, the designer who pioneered biodynamic designs including Canon’s landmark T90 SLR, has died aged 91.

The German designer was famous for his innovative transport concepts with curved designs that borrowed from nature. He passed away on Monday (16 September) in Karlsruhe in southern Germany, according to his partner.

Colani began his career as a car designer but soon branched into other areas of industrial design

His work on Canon’s 1986 SLR created one of the most groundbreaking camera designs in camera history.

Luigi Colani (Pic: Volker Weber/Wikimedia Commons)
Luigi Colani (Pic: Volker Weber/Wikimedia Commons)

Colani’s innovative design changed the boxy rectangle shape into something more curved and modern.

The T90 was the first time Canon had commissioned the design of one of its cameras outside the company.

For the final design, Kunihisa Ito of ODS Co Ltd incorporated many of Corlani’s nature-mimicking traits into the final camera design.

The T90’s fluid chassis has influenced every Canon SLR since, from the EOS film cameras to their digital equivalents, still produced today.

Colani’s design could be adopted thanks to the fact the camera no longer needed a lever wind to advance the frames. Instead of powering the wind-on, shutter and rewind with the same motor, Canon built three different motors into the camera, each handling a separate task. All of these were powered by four AA batteries.

The pro-level T90, the last of Canon’s manual focus high-end SLRs, incorporates an LCD screen in the top plate aswell as a thumb wheel to control shooting functions such as shutter speed or aperture, depending on mode.

Aside from the Canon T90, Colani is thought to have sketched designs for some 4,000 objects over the length of his career. His creations included everything from teapots to streamlined trucks to plastic aircraft.

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