Business Week has whet our design whistle with a round-up of the world’s most influential designers, a list of 27 luminaries who regularly impress and inspire in the fields of graphic, industrial, and even auto design, from Philippe Starck to the so-called father of modern video games. Lest you think the premise a bit nebulous, the editors have included a neat little caveat: “Not only is ‘influential’ difficult to measure, but ‘design’ is also nigh on impossible to define neatly.” We’ve rounded up a few personal design heroes and their signature objects from the list, after the jump.
Naoto Fukasawa‘s design ethos embodies the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi: an austere, elegant simplicity paired matched with a taste for the perfectly imperfect. He’s one of the design world’s “favorite secrets,” creating work for his own firm and on the sly for bigger brands like Muji.
Odds are while you don’t know his name, you’ve seen Bob Greenberg‘s special effects work in films like Alien, Predator, and Seven. As the founder of R/GA, a digital advertising and marketing agency in New York, he literally wrote the playbook on interactive advertising for clients like Nike, Nokia, and Johnson & Johnson.
As Apple’s senior vice-president for industrial design, Jonathan Ive has overseen the production of such iconic products as the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. You can thank him for the candy-colored translucency of the early iMacs and the minimalist aesthetic that has dominated the brand in recent years.
Dutch Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas is known for distinctive, cutting-edge buildings that blend architecture and urban design and defy classification. Among his most infamous projects: the CCTV building in Beijing and the Seattle Central Library. Fashionistas are likely more familiar with his store designs for Prada.
While she’s not exactly creating new designs, Paola Antonelli is the senior curator in the department of architecture and design at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (she joined the staff in 1994). Under her watch, mainstream audiences have been educated on design’s positive (and massive) influence on everyday life. Most recently, she led the museum to acquire the “@” sign for its department of architecture and design; she’s also trying to get a Boeing 747 into the permanent collection.