In the spirit of the holiday season, I decided to put together a shortlist of designers and creative individuals I am thankful for. These are individuals and/or groups, both past and present, who continue to inspire and define what it means to be forward-thinking innovators in their own respective fields. Their presence in the design community makes it a better place, and that’s something we can all truly be thankful for.
In no particular order:
Archigram burst onto the English cultural scene in the early 1960s with an intention to produce a rapid form of communication in which one could explore avant-garde architectural concepts (re: architecture + telegram). As recent graduates of prestigious architecture schools in the United Kingdom, Archigram’s founding members had a very idealized vision of what architecture should be, and embarked on the creation of explorative architecture and imagery that would outwardly challenge the attitude of a continuing, well-mannered European modern architecture. The work of Archigram remains timeless and relevant to modern-day architects and designers, serving as a reminder of the importance of pushing the boundaries to creativity and exploration.
BUILD LLC is a Seattle-based design-build firm specializing in modern residential design highlighted by sustainable principles. They are my “go-to” of sorts when I am looking for inspiration on modern design techniques, architectural eye candy, or extremely informative and easily digestable blog posts. BUILD LLC has done an excellent job of staying grounded in principle and pragmatism while creating smart, forward-thinking architecture that is environmentally conscious. Any designer(s) who can hatch a perfect balance between the two is certainly doing something right.
Joe Cesare Colombo
Joe Cesare Colombo was an Italian product and furniture designer. Always experimenting with new materials and the most advanced technologies of the time, everything he created was intended for the “environment of the future”. His design career aimed at change and the possibility of harnessing new technologies as a means to produce new design solutions that were as equally innovative as they were appealing to the consumer. His focus on inventing a new type of “habitat”, one in which spaces would become more conducive to “meditation and experimentation, to intimacy and interpersonal exchanges” was far ahead of his own time, and still holds true by today’s design standards.
Snøhetta is an international architecture/landscape architecture firm based out of Oslo, Norway and New York City, New York. Led by founding principals Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Snøhetta began from humble beginnings as a collaborative architectural workshop in the late 1980s, eventually garnering its first true commission for the re-design of the Alexandria Library in Egypt after winning an international design competition. This propelled Snøhetta into the design-world spotlight, and though they have experienced international fame within the design community for their works that are continually seeking the true essence of what it means to design intelligently for the betterment of people’s well-being, they have all the while remained planted with both feet on the ground. I have had the privilege of attending multiple lectures by Craig Dykers, and every time I seem to leave with a reaffirmed passion for what I do.
Jacob Riley-Wasserman is a young, upcoming product and furniture designer and recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. With designs recently licensed and sold by New York City-based AREAWARE, he is making a mark on the design community at a very early and rapid pace. Jacob’s work hearkens a playful, almost nostalgic feel. He continues to test the boundaries of a seemingly endless variety of mediums, always seeking the most appealing solution to both aesthetics and functionality. He is not only an inspiration to the design community at large, but a reminder that design rarely conforms to preconceived norms and innovative solutions can be found in the simplest of everyday objects.