Marcel Wanders

Marcel Wanders was born in Boxtel, Netherlands in 1963. He graduated in 1988 from the Institute of the Arts Arnhem and started producing soon after. Major part of his career he has been focusing on interior and industrial projects. One of his signature works include the Knotted Chair, produced by the Dutch design brand Droog, in 1996.

He has a studio in Westerhuis, Amsterdam. He has been working with brand names across the world, including B&B Italia, Bisazza, Cappellini, Droog and Mooi. He is also the art director and co-owner of the latter. Some of his later projects include Lute Suites, the first ‘all over city suites’, hotel situated in the vicinity of Amsterdam. His interior design projects also involve restaurant interiors. His talent and works have been recognised in a variety of ways. The knotted Chair has been acquired as part of the permanent collection of MoMA. Parts of his collections are exhibited in V&A Museum in London, Museum of Decorative Arts in Copenhagen. His works have been covered by many international editions and he has been used as a juror for various design prizes, such as the Rotterdam Design Prize. In 2008 he was also named ‘Master of Design’ by Fast Company, magazine dedicated to successful entrepreneurs.

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid was born in 1950 in Baghdad. She studied mathematics in Beirut and later moved to London to study in the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. After she worked with a couple of her previous tutors in 1980, she established her own studio in London.

What is interesting about her work, is that a couple of her award winning designs were initially never built. Some of her most notable creations include the new city casino of Basel, the MAXXI in Rome (for which she won the Stirling Prize in 2010). She was also in charge of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park in Seoul, South Korea. Her non-architecture work includes cooperation with leading Italian furniture designer B&B (for which she designed the Moon System Sofa), Lacoste, as well as creating the interior design at the Millennium Dome in London. Her architectural achievements and cutting edge style has won her numerous recognitions and awards, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She has been ranked 69 on the Forbes list of “The world’s 100 Most Powerful Women”and has been recognized as an “influential”thinker by the Times Magazine. She has been on the board of trustees of the Architecture Foundation and is currently teaching at the University of Applied Arts in Austria.

Jasper Morrison

Jasper Morrison was born in London in 1959. He graduated from the Royal College of Art with a postgraduate degree in 1985. A year later he set up his Office for Design in London. He was invited to design for Reuters News Centre. He also started working for SCP in London, as well as the office furniture company Vitra and the Italian furniture producer Cappellini.

Six years later he, along with some other young designers, was invited to organize for them Progetto Oggetto, a collection of household objects. He also worked on other collaboration projects, such as installations and exhibition designs, with designers including Andreas Brandolini. Another one of his more significant projects include the design of the Hannover Industrial, the largest European light rail production contract of its time. His talent and achievements in the sphere of design are recognised by numerous publications of his work including his lecture “A world without words”that was published in a book format. Recent projects include furniture design for Tate Modern, London, Folding Air-Chair and Low Air-Table for Magis, along with kitchen line for Rowenta and a sanitary brassware range for Ideal Standard. In 2006 he had his Super Normal exhibition in Tokyo. He found an Ltd company, named after him that currently operates in London and in Paris for a variety of international clients, such as Samsung, Muji, Sony, and Alessi.

Martin Szekely

Martin Szekely was born in 1956, the son of Hungarian emigrants in France. He studied in Ecole Boulle and Ecole Estienne and graduated as a qualified printmaker.
He was noticed for his talent in 1982, and since then he has had numerous collaborations with international brands such as Dom Pérignon, Hermès, Bernardaud, Legrand, Saint-Louis, E.N.S. (European Neurological Society), Terreal (Saint Gobain group), Heineken, JCDecaux etc. His is the creation of the Perrier glass manufactured in 20 million copies. He is the father of many other iconic objects.

His style is characterized by looking for the simplest expression of the object also embracing its functionality. He is after products that could be understood by everyone and yet they are not demonstrative. His talent and personality have been recognised widely. He was awarded the Alfred Dunhill Price, for being ‘ a remarkable man of the year’. His creations are exhibited in MoMA and Centre Pompidou devoted an exhibition to him just last year.

Ettore Sottsass

Ettore Sottsass was born in 1917 in Innsbruck, Austria, but he grew up in Milan. He graduated from the Politecnico di Torino as an architect and after some turbulent years which he spent in a concentration camp, he returned to Milan where he set up his own industrial design studio.

He started establishing his name as a designer when he started working for Adriano Olivetti. His strength was turning traditional office equipment into elements of popular culture. His signature piece, however, remains a red plastic portable Valentine typewriter, which later on became a fashion accessory. His style also began to be influenced by his travels to the States and India. In 1981 he cofounded the Memphis Group, an association of young and talented architects and designers whose works are considered an expression of Post-modernism. He worked with a great number of young architects and designers. His individual career focused on architectural practice, called Sottsass Associati, which did design and architecture projects for numerous clients, including Fiorucci, Knoll Internaitonal. His international recognition is evidenced by his museum exhibition in the US, Los Angelis County Museum of Art as well the Design Museum in London.

Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho was born in 1907 in Rio de Janeiro. The base of his work is revolving around exploring reinforced concrete for its aesthetic impact. His buildings are spacious, relying on empty space and volumes. With his volume of work and immense international recognition, he is considered one of the fathers of modern architecture.

He studied in the Escola de Belas Artes from which he graduated as an engineer architect in 1934. His first commissioned work came in 1936 when he worked on the new headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Public Health. It was the first state-sponsored modernist sky-scraper in the world, a symbol of Brazilian modernism. Other significant projects on which he worked include the Pampulha project, headquarters of the UN in New York, Sao Paolo’s Ibirapuera Park and many others. He later on moved to Europe, Paris where he began designing furniture produced by Mobilier International. His talent as an architect has been recognized with numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious award in architecture which he received in 1988. In 2010 he opened a museum of his work and he has also established a foundation outside Rio de Janeiro. 

Joep Van Lieshout

Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) operates internationally in the field of design, architecture and contemporary art. It was founded in 1995 by Joep Van Lieshout (born in 1963 in the Netherlands), but it is a creative space where a number of artists work together.

The style of the atelier is described as practical, uncomplicated and the scope of its work ranges from sculpture to complete architectural refurbishment solutions. It often uses large polyester constructions in bright colours which are proclaimed to be the signature design solution for the atelier. Recently the designers do not focus so much on ready-to-go solutions but rather on unique works of art, characterising an independent and self-fulfilling lifestyle. The design and architecture studio is also involved in the production of many independent art projects.

Jeroen Verhoeven

Jeroen Verhoeven was born in 1976 in the Netherlands. He graduated from Eindhoven design academy in 2004 along with his twin brother and a fellow colleague, with whom they cofounded Demakersvan design house in 2005.

His work is said to combine function and form in a mystical way. He manages to turn functional mundane objects into beauty pieces. He is famous for using contemporary software to create his works of art. His most famous piece, the Cinderella table, he created by translating a sketch of an 18th century commode and a console, to create two digital drawings and from where on he created a third representation and eventually a unique piece of furniture. The name of the table is derived from the way it was produced: something old is transformed into something entirely new that is just breathtaking. His works have been exhibited internationally. Most recent exhibitions include Victoria and Albert museum in London (2009). A Cinderella example is in MoMA’s permanent collection. The acclaimed design house has also representation in Centre Pompidou. On the commercial side, it has also signed contracts with giants such as Swarovski and Nike.

Harry Bertoia

Harry Bertoia was born in 1915 in San Lorenzo, Italy and is often described as an artist, sculptor and furniture designer. He moved to the US 15 years later, where he studied art and design in Cass Technical School. He also mastered the art of handmade jewellery making.

After he dedicated some years to jewellery crafts, he established a studio and started focusing on furniture design, using wire for his works. His famous creation, the “Diamond chair” is made of molten lattice of welded steel. His unique design has become famous ever since and he produced a number of other chairs which came to be known as the Bertoia Collection for Knoll. The mass arrangement later allowed him to focus on another passion of his – sculpture. His approach was focused on exploring how metal could be used to produce sound. He was also commissioned to create sculpture for a variety of American buildings, including the Marshall University fountain in Huntington, West Virginia. Later on, after his death, his son goes on to describe his work as bringing together all forms of human energy, involving the power of light, sound, natural forms and textures.

Humberto and Fernando Campana

Humberto and Fernando Campana are famous Brazilian designers born in the 1953 and 1961 respectively. Neither brother intended to be a designer. Humberto initially studied law, and only started to design furniture 30 years later, after his brother, Fernando, has already completed his architectural degree.

They started creating around 1983, and their style is characterized by the use of ordinary and neglected materials such as cardboard, fabric, rope, wood scraps and sometimes aluminium wire in combination with advanced technologies. They draw inspiration from the street life and carnival culture so significant for Brazil. They gained acclaim also through the controversy their work conveys. Transforming something poor into something rather decadent and luxurious is the main goal of their work. Critics believe that this process of transformation has given a new perspective to contemporary design which previously was thought to be dominated by rationalist European ideas. Their new aesthetic, heavily based on experimentation and technology gives them the ability to exploit the spirit of their inherited tradition. Evidence of the global recognition came in the late 90s, when MoMA exhibited their art, making them the first Brazilian artists to have this honour.