noun/ ‘aŋkə/ 1. a heavy object attached to a cable or chain and used to moor a ship to the sea bottom, typically having a metal shank with a pair of curved, barbed flukes at one end.
Anchors are an essential part of all seafaring vessels - the inspiration provided by these tools of maritime life is endless. Take Midas, the Ancient Greek king of Phyrgia, remembered for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. Midas is credited by many Greek historians for inventing the anchor and his legacy reminds us that a touch of gold and an anchor drawer pull can lift any interior to royal standards.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the British Admiralty (now the Royal Navy) engaged in extensive testing, redesigning and improvement of traditional anchor designs looking for the perfect model. To me this is an approach that is critical to good design - a desire to eternally refine, improve and with the aim of mastery.
The last piece of inspiration we can all take from the humble yet mighty anchor comes from Tavira, Portugal. Barril beach in Tavira is a 14km stretch of pure, white sand adorned with orange, fig and almond trees. It is here where the ‘Cemitério das Âncoras’, or Cemetery of Anchors, lies, an orderly relic from the region's past as a bustling tuna fishing locale. Thousands of rusted anchors lie abandoned in orderly lines under a strange haze of nostalgia and rusted beauty. They are a striking example of unintended public art. What can these anchors tell us? Simple, that although something may not be needed for its intended purpose anymore it is most definitely not useless.