The Twentieth Century Society

Obituary: Rodney Fitch

Rodney Fitch, who died last October, was, said the Daily Telegraph, one of the most influential retail designers of his generation, but his remit extended well beyond retail, including interiors for Terminal 4 and Lloyd’s of London. In 1982, Fitch & Co was the first design company to be listed on the stock exchange, and Stephen Bayley in the Guardian said that Fitch’s remark ‘The purpose of life is shopping’ reflected the decade as surely as Margaret Thatcher’s ‘There is no such thing as society’. He was robustly populist, preferring M&S to Issey Miyake. The Telegraph said that William Morris was his design hero, but, according to Bayley, he saw design not as a form of art, but as a function of business: ‘Conran’s Habitat had better rhetoric, but Fitch’s Topshop had more customers.’