Designers to Watch
A mix-and-match man breaks items down, then builds them back up.
Plenty of designers work to the sound of hip-hop, but Martino Gamper may be the only one who follows its principles. He builds his works from fragments of other people’s furniture “the way musicians would sample something,” he says, Skyping from his studio in London. For his most famous project, called 100 Chairs in 100 Days and first shown in 2007, he amassed a vast store of used furniture. Then he broke those pieces down and assembled new chairs from their parts, allowing himself 24 hours to finish each work.
A trio of Dutchmen aims to create, and sell, the impossible.
It doesn’t seem right that the three Dutch founders of the design firm Demakersvan (“The Makers of”) should have the looks of Hollywood stars as well as the genius of the Eameses. Joep and Jeroen Verhoeven, 35-year-old identical twins, are blonds with Robert Redford cheekbones. Judith de Graauw is a 36-year-old gamine in the mold of Audrey Tautou. Beginning from their student days at the Design Academy in Eindhoven—mission control for world-changing Dutch design—the trio was doing great work, and selling it.
The very idea of furniture, sketched in the air, made real.
Sometimes, old-school teachers are just what students need to be inspired to push forward. That was the case with the women who founded the radical Swedish design firm Front. They met at Stockholm’s Konstfack college, a school that emphasized “hard-core industrial design”—functionalist and minimalist and all about “what shapes were acceptable or not,” says Frontster Charlotte von der Lancken from Stockholm. Of course, that left Front’s founders eager to explore everything except “practical questions of function,” recalls her colleague Anna Lindgren.
A Scottish designer freezes flight and “materializes” emotions.
Geoff Mann uses advanced technology in his work, from motion-capture movie equipment to 3-D laser scanners to rapid prototypers that “print” entire objects. But that technology leaves him cold. “It’s when you can give technology soul that you start to do something interesting,” says the 32-year-old, in the soulful burr of his native land.His most famous piece (“It got massive, massive press”) is a lamp that he made in 2005 for his Master of Fine Arts show at the Royal College of Art in London.
A cure for loneliness from a couple of romantics.
Francesca Lanzavecchia, a doctor’s daughter from Italy, and Hunn Wai, the son of a Malaysian engineer, fell in love while they were grad students at the rigorous Design Academy in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Could that be why some of the best objects produced by their firm still have a romantic side that’s rare in cutting-edge design? Lanzavecchia+Wai’s Lightmate is a body-size pillow, shaped like a cloud, or maybe a puddle, that emits a gentle glow and delicate heat as you hug it.
Over the next few days, at a fair in Basel, Switzerland, some of the world's greatest design dealers will be showing off some of the 20th century's most beautiful objects. A few dealers will be presenting some of the smartest ones, too, from the 21st. Today's younger, more daring designers are leaving behind the old-fashioned futurism of Marcel Breuer and the Eameses, in favor of objects that speak of the world we're in now. On The Daily Beast and in the latest issue of Newsweek, I've profiled several designers who make objects whose brains are meant to match their good looks. This Web gallery presents more of their works.
The Daily Pic: Lucio Fontana pioneered neon art.
A glamorous Muscovite waves a magic wand over her menacing, dystopic city. And presto! She conjures a new museum.