Robert Dudley Best was born in 1892 into a industrial family in the Midlands. He went to Bedales school before attending the Düsseldorf School of Arts and Crafts. When war broke out he enlisted along with his brother, Frank, despite his father's initial feeling that he ought to stay at home to look after the family business. He and Frank initially served in the army in France and Ireland before joining the Royal Flying Corps. After the war he took over the family firm Best and Lloyd. At the same time he became interested in the emergence of modernism on the continent. He attended the International Exhibition of Modern Design in Paris in 1925 where he became aware of the influence of Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe. This experience led Best to return to study in Paris and Düsseldorf. It was during his time in Düsseldorf that he became friends with the founder of Bauhaus, Walter Gropius. While in Germany he began work on what would later become the iconic Bestlite. Under his control Best and Lloyd became one of the largest lighting companies in the world.
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