James Irvine studied at the Royal College of Design in London. He founded his Milano-based studio in 1984 and became a member of the Olivetty design studios until 1992. From 1993 onwards James Irvine worked for Ettore Sottsass and in parallel for his own studio. Later he worked on his own behalf for companies such as Alias, Artemide, Thonet, Cappellini, Mercedes Benz, Muji and WMF. From 2005 to 2007 he was a professor at the Karlsruhe Hochschule für Gestaltung. In 2007 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University.