The British high-tech architect and designer Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, is definitely a superstar of contemporary architecture. Norman Foster studied architecture and urban planning at Manchester University until 1961. Then he received a scholarship to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where he continued to study architecture until 1963.
Between 1963 and 1966 Team 4 in London was the joint practice of Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Georgie Wolton, and Wendy Cheesman, whom Foster would later marry. In 1966 Norman Foster founded Foster Associates, which later became Foster and Partners. Between 1968 and 1983 Norman Foster worked on several projects with the architect Richard Buckminster Fuller. In 1977 Norman Foster built the Willis Faber & Dumas insurance company offices in Ipswich of black glass, for which he won the Royal Institute of British Architects prize. That project made Norman Foster famous worldwide.
Norman Foster's most important international large-scale projects include the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank headquarters (1981-86), Stansted Airport (1991), Hong Kong International Airport (1992-98), the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt am Main (1993-97), the glass dome of the Reichstag building in Berlin (1994-99), and the "30 St Mary Axe" building (2001-03, the Swiss Re headquarters) in London.
Norman Foster's buildings are sophisticated high-tech structures. Norman Foster has, however, also made a name for himself as a designer, one of his many pieces being "Nomos" (1988), a table for Tecno. From 1997 to 1999 Norman Foster designed seat furniture for Thonet. In 1998 Norman Foster designed a tray that was produced by Alessi. For Erco and Artemide, Norman Foster has designed various lighting systems. For Kundalini, Foster created the "Gherkin lamp" in 2005, whose pointed ovoid form is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the striking "30 St Mary Axe" building, which is affectionately dubbed "the Gherkin" by Londoners because of its shape.