The Design Museum has acquired for its permanent collection a number of iconic products from 20th century history and everyday life including the Sony Walkman from 1979, the Anglepoise lamp and British road signs made by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert in 1960. They are also displaying that icon of popular warfare the Kalashnikov AK-47. Employed in wars of offence and defence since its conception in 1947, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s design has become an icon. The AK-47 is just one among innumerable another smart, functional products designed to make life easy. Perhaps the design intelligence at the heart of this weapon will make itself better understood – ease of manufacture, usability, practicality and functionality. It’s reliable in all weathers and simple enough to be used by children. Can it be called a thing of beauty? To accept it among the design classics is to accept that a killing machine can be a good advertisement for smart design principles.