Power powwow: who is the most influential of contemporary designers?
As we put the finishing touches to this 308-page bumper October issue our minds are already focused on our next significant number. November is the 200th issue of Wallpaper*. We'll be celebrating this milestone in a variety of ways ‚ most importantly with the second iteration of our annual Design Power List. Purely for the purposes of numerical harmony, the 2014 Power 100 will grow to become the 2015 Power 200, illustrated with portraits from our unique archive. While flicking through our hefty back catalogue we realised that many of our Power Listers had been profiled and photographed by us at the beginning of their careers. A reassuringly positive refection on Wallpaper's prescience, authority and influence over the years. So look out for rather revealing images of a very young Michael Young, a fresh-faced Fukasawa and some baby-faced Bouroullecs.
As predicted, the inaugural list proved to be somewhat provocative. Designers are sensitive souls and they can get a bit feisty when egos are damaged. There have been a few upset emails, some combative conversations, even the odd alcohol-fuelled threat. But the Kanye West Award for overreaction has to go to Mr Perma-Pink, Karim Rashid. Taking to Facebook in response to his omission from our inaugural 100 list, the Rashid Rant went as far as calling on his 'fans and friends' to boycott Wallpaper* and for his clients to withdraw advertising. But perhaps he should have been on the list? After all, we made it clear that the criteria was influence, authority, cash and credibility, and by his own humble admission, 'KARIM RASHID has influenced many designers, consumers, developers, industry, and helped shape our democratic landscape. He has designed products that have sold in the millions & has won more awards than one can imagine. He has four doctorate degrees and countless successes in his 30 years of experience'.
Earning a place on the list certainly shouldn't just depend on the personal taste of our editors or panel of advisors, even if they have an aversion to blobjects, fuschia pink or designers who dress like children's TV presenters to attract attention. I don't know Rashid personally, but I hear from friends that he is a sweet guy, very talented, and certainly extremely successful. So I think we should take Karim up on his idea to 'make a GLOBAL public poll to see who is the most influential' of contemporary designers. Join the debate using #Power200 on Facebook and @wallpapermag on Twitter and Instagram. Vote Rashid!
As originally featured in the October 2015 edition of Wallpaper* (W*199)