The Wallpaper* 100: meet the design world’s most wanted

Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman and Williams

(Image credit: press)

Authority and influence, rank and standing, cash and credibility. We get a measure of the hard currency and soft power of the global design elite...

After many hours of heated debate here at Wallpaper*, the loose application of a complex mathematical model, and consultation with an international panel of curators, we have arrived at our design top 100. This is our inaugural ranking of design’s major players, and we have considered a number of factors: quality and consistency of output, of course, but also influence and, as much as possible, a market value and earning power. We have also limited ourselves to designers and interior architects, with the occasional educator and commercial patron thrown in.

We understand that some of you may feel squeamish about such a league table and even more will contest its results. But come on, who doesn’t love a list? And mapping out power and influence is one way of looking at where design is heading and where it has been, the wax and wane of ideas and trends.

Ultimately, we hope it inspires thought and debate. It is, in part, a playful provocation, but it is also a serious stab at identifying, and even honouring, those who are setting the pace in contemporary design, remaking, rethinking, redefining and creating designs that are smart and beautiful, and perhaps even world-changing.

As featured in the October 2014 issue of Wallpaper* (W*187)

Alexis Georgacolus

(Image credit: Alexis Georgacopoulos)

100. Alexis Georgacopoulos

The ECAL-trained Georgacopoulos went on to head up the industrial design school at his alma mater, introducing various global exhibitions; this year in Milan the school collaborated with Vacheron Constantin in a special arts and crafts installation, and together they devised the ever-popular ECAL photo booth. His star was elevated by work for ENO Studio, as well as his own products, that blend craft with modern materials

Sebastian Wrong

(Image credit: Sebastian Wrong)

99. Sebastian Wrong

Designer, curator, educator, artist and retailer, Wrong has done much to shape the modern design landscape. A founding member of Established & Sons, creator of The Wrong Shop and the instigator of Hay’s recent run of bespoke products, Wrong has also created a seminal series of cabinets, chairs and lights

Atelier Oi

(Image credit: Armand Louis, Aurel Aebi, Patrick Reymond)

98. Atelier Oï

Swiss designers Armand Louis, Aurel Aebi and Patrick Reymond formed their studio in 1991. Their designs are playful, often incorporating an innovative use of materials, such as the aluminium  ‘Vase decompose’ for Danese Milano or the lattice screens found in their interiors for Pringle of Scotland’s Chengdu store

Faye Toogood Portrait

(Image credit: Faye Toogood)

97. Faye Toogood

A case of successful reinvention, Toogood has evolved from stylist to designer of sculptural, tactile furniture, elegant interiors and angular, hard-wearing fashion. Her client list includes the likes of Selfridges, Hermès, Tom Dixon and Comme des Garçons, and she maintains an image as sharp as her output

El Ultimo Grito

(Image credit: El Ultimo Grito)

96. El Ultimo Grito

Spanish duo Roberto Feo and Rosario Hurtado have been key players in the development of conceptual design. Their client list runs from museums such as the V&A and Reina Sofia, through to BA and Lavazza. Idiosyncratic and colourful, the studio exists at the intersection of sculpture and design. Photography courtesy of the designers

Joseph Dirand

(Image credit: Joseph Dirand)

95. Joseph Dirand

Dirand delivers a special kind of Gallic minimalism that is both plush and ascetic – which is why the Paris-based interior designer finds himself in high demand. Dirand’s clutch of boutiques (for Chloé, Givenchy, Balmain and more) are matched with hotels, restaurants and apartments for high-living taste-makers

Jerry Helling

(Image credit: Jerry Helling)

94. Jerry Helling

Helling has steered Bernhardt Design to a prominent position among US design companies. As well as creating the ICFF Studio showcase, his vision for the brand keeps it current, with a continuous stream of innovation coming via industry top names, including Ross Lovegrove and Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

Matali Crasset

(Image credit: Matali Crasset)

93. Matali Crasset

Crasset went solo after a five-year stretch with Philippe Starck, focusing on self-contained environments, from hotel rooms to boutiques, where the French designer’s singular way with form and technology manifests itself in furniture, objects and products that are colourful, clever and fun

Patrick Norguet

(Image credit: Patrick Norguet)

92. Patrick Norguet

After studying engineering and design at ENSCI, Norguet’s career got off to a flying start when he was appointed head of visual communications for Louis Vuitton. In 2000, he set up his own studio, creating crisply detailed furniture and interiors for companies as diverse as Tacchini, Glas Italia and McDonald’s

Moritz Waldemeyer

(Image credit: Moritz Waldemeyer)

91. Moritz Waldemeyer

Wired from the outset thanks to early chandelier collaborations with Ron Arad, Waldemeyer’s subsequent work has tracked the LED’s rise as a source of illumination and entertainment. His technical background helps keep him on the cutting edge, with installations ranging from wearable to truly immersive

Haas Brothers

(Image credit: Joe Kramm)

90. Haas Brothers

Twins Nikolai and Simon began life as Texan builders with a Hollywood twist, but their skill and experimental approach saw them branch out into design at the turn of the decade. Now based in LA, the brothers’ new surrealist style graces spaces like the city’s Ace Hotel and the Guerlain store in Paris. 

Paul Cocksedge Portrait 2014

(Image credit: Paul Cocksedge)

89. Paul Cocksedge

Lighting design is never drab in Cocksedge’s hands. Together with Joana Pinho, the British designer has built up a series of large-scale illuminations for clients including BMW, Sony and the Wellcome Trust. The studio’s work is delicate and interactive, bringing a sense of sparkling wonder into the urban real; most recently the duo conceived ‘The Living Staircase’ in Ampersand's Soho atrium

Tyler Hays

(Image credit: Tyler Hays)

88. Tyler Hays

Hays is the creative vision behind luxury American furniture label BDDW. Based in Philadelphia, Hays is as much an entrepreneur as he is a designer, having built up BDDW from a small studio start-up in Brooklyn to a respected handmade furniture empire within the space of ten years

Stephen Burks

(Image credit: Stephen Burks)

87. Stephen Burks

Burks’ Readymade Projects was born out of the designer’s studies at the Illinois Institute of Technology and an ongoing concern with the transformative potential of design in emerging economies. This year the practice was awarded a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, celebrating stellar work with brands such as Dedon, Ligne Roset, Swarovski and Boffi

Rodolfo Dordoni

(Image credit: Rodolfo Dordoni)

86. Rodolfo Dordoni

Milanese architect Dordoni has spent his career designing and providing art direction for some of the biggest players in Italian design – Artemide, Cappellini, Minotti and Foscarini have all benefited from his creative input. More recently, he set up Dordoni Architetti to focus on his architectural projects


(Image credit: Carl Bengtsson)

85. Front

Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken and Anna Lindgren bring a strong feminine sensibility into what was once a very masculine realm. The Stockholm- and London-based trio have worked together since 2003, and have created pieces for the likes of Moooi, Thonet, Kartell, Moroso and Porro. Photography: Carl Bengtsson

Muller Van Severen

(Image credit: press)

84. Muller Van Severen

Furniture is rarely as refined as the work created by Fien Muller and Hannes Van Severen (son of legendary designer Maarten). The Belgian pair’s ‘landscapes for living’ evolved out of their creative backgrounds (his in sculpture, hers in photography), and the resulting forms have reinvented the notion of minimal living

Peter Marino

(Image credit: Manolo Yllera)

83. Peter Marino

Marino’s New York studio is the fashion industry’s go-to design house. The leather-clad king of retail design will happily hog the limelight himself, but there’s no denying his muscular handling of big-ticket spaces, including major stores for Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi and Dior, as well as private penthouses and yachts. 

Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

(Image credit: LouisTeran & Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)

82. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance

Duchaufour-Lawrance’s sculptural designs are inspired by nature. Since his breakthrough in 2002 with the outlandish interior for London restaurant Sketch, his work has included identities for Air France and Yves Saint Laurent cosmetics, as well as furniture for Bernhardt design and lighting for Gaia & Gino. 

Ora Ito

(Image credit: Ora-ïto)

81. Ora-ïto

Ito Morabito started his career as a teenager creating conceptual products for iconic brands such as Louis Vuitton and Apple. Now working under the studio name of Ora-ïto, Morabito’s triumphs include transforming the rooftop gymnasium of Le Corbusier’s 'Cité Radieuse' in Marseille into contemporary art space MAMO and, following that, designing Cassina’s LC50 tribute to the Swiss architect at this year’s D'Days in Paris

Patrick Jouin Cr Dit Benoit Linero

(Image credit: Benoit Linero)

80. Patrick Jouin

Since establishing his studio in 1998, French designer and Philippe Starck protégé Jouin has made a name for himself by pushing the boundaries of design using experimental materials and technologies. His successes range from an ingenious Nutella spreader to the world’s first 3D-printed chair. 

Michael Young

(Image credit: courtesy of Galerie Kreo)

79. Michael Young

Young’s approach reflects the designer’s journey from the UK to Iceland, then Hong Kong, where he’s been based since 2006, creating everything from bags to bikes. Limited editions are paired with objects for mass production, and personal obsessions, like the re-engineered Moke beach buggy and James Irvine-inspired Wonderglass design, are pushed to the fore. 

Matteo Thun

(Image credit: Matteo Thun)

78. Matteo Thun

Scion of north Italian nobility and co-founder of the Memphis Group with Ettore Sottsass, Thun was only ever destined for greatness. The world is peppered with his progressive, sustainably luxurious interiors, and his architecture and product design. His success has led him to launch Matteo Thun Atelier, a specially curated sector of his hand-crafted work, currently hosting limited edition pieces in ceramic and glass. In addition, the JW Marriott Resort and Spa opened on an artificial island in the Venetian lagoon this summer; Thun not only designed the building and interiors, but also the landscaping across the 160,000 sq m site

Gwenael Nicolas

(Image credit: Gwenaël Nicolas)

77. Gwenaël Nicolas

French-born designer Nicolas has shaped some of Japan's leading retail environments and evolved a form of maximalist minimalism that brings light, technology, form and movement into his installations. His studio Curiosity, which creates exquisite interiors for Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Berluti, has just collaborated with Japanese perfumer Mami Sugimoto to create a limited edition fragrance and accompanying monograph

Paola Navone

(Image credit: Paola Navone)

76. Paola Navone

One of the leading female forces in design, Navone spent her early career travelling the globe and working with Italian design doyens such as Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini. Her spontaneous attitude and passion for craft is reflected in her lively designs for brands from Gervasoni and Crate & Barrel to a debut seating collection for Ercol

Alfredo Häberli

(Image credit: Jonas-Kuhn)

75. Alfredo Häberli

Häberli credits his motivation to his Argentine upbringing, and his problem-solving abilities to his Swiss heritage. He became a star overnight when he designed the instantly recognisable Origo dinner service for Iittala in 1999, and has since gone on to create work for brands such as Moroso and Georg Jensen. This year, he was chosen by BMW to design their yearly installation in Milan. 

Fredrickson Stallard

(Image credit: Fredrikson Stallard)

74. Fredrikson Stallard

Over two decades, the Scando-British partnership of Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard has built up a portfolio that’s both covetable and collectable. The studio’s designs sit in foyers, museums, stores, restaurants, hotels and private collections around the world, a sensuous fusion of form and rigour. During this year's London Design Festival, the duo are celebrating ten years of work with a special showcase of new pieces in collaboration with David Gill Gallery called ‘Momentum’

David Rockwell

(Image credit: David Rockwell)

73. David Rockwell

Having launched his design and architecture firm Rockwell Group in 1984, Rockwell is now a long-standing luminary of the US design scene. Among his projects he counts numerous W Hotels, the JetBlue Terminal 5 at JFK, and set designs for the Oscars and films such as Team America: World Police and Catch Me If You Can


(Image credit: ean-Marie Massaud)

72. Jean-Marie Massaud

Massaud has been creating forward-thinking furniture and lighting for a host of big-name brands for over two decades. In recent years, the French designer has completed some ambitious architectural projects, including a soccer stadium in Guadalajara, and a condominium building in Tribeca, New York

Ludovica + Roberto Palomba

(Image credit: Ludovica + Roberto Palomba)

71. Ludovica + Roberto Palomba

Masters of luxury, the Milanese architect and designer husband-and-wife team celebrated 20 years in partnership last year. The award-winning duo design everything from lamps and bathtubs to superyachts – they most recently finished the first Kartell by Laufen showroom in their hometown. They manage all this while also providing art direction for an impressively long list of industry heavyweights

Arik Levy

(Image credit: Arik Levy)

70. Arik Levy

Born in Israel, educated in Switzerland and based in Paris, Levy’s vast portfolio of work spans lighting design, stage sets, jewellery, graphic design, furniture and packaging. What unites them is Levy’s ability to strike a balance between emotion and technology, a style he refers to as ‘techno-poetic’

Maria Pergay

(Image credit: Maria Pergay)

69. Maria Pergay

Not only does Parisian legend Pergay (sitting on the far left) continue to create in her 80s, but her vast back catalogue of curvaceous stainless steel designs still surfaces in international auction houses. She defined hi-lux design before the current generation was even born; Dior, Hermès and Pierre Cardin were all early adopters

Pierre Charpin

(Image credit: Pierre Charpin)

68. Pierre Charpin

Following Charpin's takeover of the lovely Apartment 50 in Le Corbusier's 'Cité Radieuse' in Marseille last year, he has now commandeered the Robert Mallet-Stevens-designed Villa Noailles in Hyères for a new show. Entitled 'Villégiature', the exhibition houses around 70 works from the early 1990s to the present. This month also sees the opening of an exhibition of his tables and ceramic vases at Galerie Kreo's London outpost, entitled 'Marbles and Clowns'


(Image credit: Jouk Oosterhof)

67. Droog

Having given Dutch Design capital letters, Droog has grown into a mini-empire. Co-founder Renny Ramakers opened the one-bedroom Hotel Droog concept space in Amsterdam in 2012, a store and gallery in Hong Kong in 2013 and published a visual and textual anthology last year. In 2015, her innovative and award winning miniature hardware store concept ‘Construct Me!’ turned heads at Salone del Mobile

Giulio Cappellini

(Image credit: Giulio Cappellini)

66. Giulio Cappellini

Architect and art director Cappellini took the helm of the eponymous family firm in 1979, when he was just 25 years old. Setting about transforming the traditional furniture manufacturer into a thriving contemporary design brand, he was responsible for discovering lauded talents like Jasper Morrison and Marcel Wanders along the way

Inga Sempe

(Image credit: Inga Sempé)

65. Inga Sempé

A graduate of ENSCI industrial design school, Sempé is known for her ability to design objects with tactility and lightness. Since opening her studio in 2000, Sempé has made a definitive mark on the design world, establishing fruitful relationships with firms such as Ligne Roset and Wästberg

Stéphane Parmentier

(Image credit: Stéphane Parmentier)

64. Stéphane Parmentier

Parmentier cut his teeth in high-end fashion before launching into interiors for clients like Singapore Airlines, Christofle, Ormond and Hermès. His playful way with glossy forms and rich materials creates a new take on luxury design, an aesthetic he has applied to a number of private homes

Tord Boontje

(Image credit: Angela Moore)

63. Tord Boontje

From Peckham bottle recycler to Design Miami jury member, designer Boontje, known for his craft-inspired ideas, has come a long way, and his ‘Garland’ light shades are now a modern classic. Since stepping down as head of the innovative design products course at the RCA in 2013, he has been concentrating on his artful collaborations, exhibiting at Swarovski Kristallwelten and developing a jewellery collection for the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (as well as completing a recent commission for PostNL). 

Stefan Diez

(Image credit: Stefan Diez)

62. Stefan Diez

From traditional cabinetmaker to sought-after product designer, Diez's career ranges from hi-tech manufacturing all the way through to contemporary kit furniture. The German designer has created products for Thonet, Moroso, Established & Sons, Hay and Emu, all of which share a trademark pared-down precision

Philippe Nigro

(Image credit: Philippe Nigro)

61. Philippe Nigro

An apprentice of Michele De Lucchi for more than 11 years, Nigro hasn't yet reached the age of 40 but has already designed collections for the likes of Ligne Roset, De Padova and Hermès. His pieces feature in a number of museum collections, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Centre Pompidou and Milan's Triennale Design Museum

Vladimir Kagan

(Image credit: Vladimir Kagan)

60. Vladimir Kagan

With a career that has spanned more than 60 years, German-born, New York-based designer Kagan was first introduced to the art of furniture making in his father’s workshop. He went on to become a prolific mid-century designer with a sinuous style influenced by the Bauhaus and Scandinavian design

Tokujin Yoshioka

(Image credit: Tokujin Yoshioka)

59. Tokujin Yoshioka

At times, Yoshioka's work seems to float off into the ether. The Tokyo-based designer has created a number of major installations, exploring balance, transparency and atmosphere for clients like Swarovski and Cartier, while products for Glas Italia and boutiques for Issey Miyake take more substantial forms. This year he saw his first solo exhibition in Kyushu, at the newly renovated Saga Prefectural Museum

Roman and Williams

(Image credit: Roman and Williams)

58. Roman and Williams

It has been a fine couple of years for the former set designers, headed by Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch. Last year saw the grand opening of the 30-storey Viceroy Hotel on West 57th in New York; while in 2015 the pair launched two transformational Chicago projects, turning a 125-year-old athletic association into a boutique hotel and opening a second Freehand Hotel/Hostel (the first was in Miami)

Maarten Baas

(Image credit: Maarten Baas)

57. Maarten Baas

Baas has parlayed a winning way with colour-impregnated clay into a design empire, under his own name and, since 2012, as part of the entity DH PH. Despite this, he’s not too kooky to win awards, create iPhone apps or see his 'Grandfather Clock Veneer' sold by Phillips de Pury & Company New York for over $134,000

Irma Boom

(Image credit: Irma Boom)

56. Irma Boom

Boom is a big talent with a passion for small books. The Dutch designer has shaped more than 250 tomes over her career and is the collaborator of choice for everyone from Rem Koolhaas to the UN. Happy to rebuff the digital tide, Boom’s books are physically engaging and totally in love with the power of print

Marcel Wanders

(Image credit: Marcel Wanders)

55. Marcel Wanders

The prince of Dutch design, Wanders’ work now ranges from affordable kitchenware for M&S to wallpapers for Graham & Brown, and upscale interiors for the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht and the Mondrian South Beach hotels. The studio has recently opened a new appointment-only gallery space at their headquarters in Westerstraat, housing the Dutchman’s collectable designs (which will set you back the best part of $40,000 at auction)

Fabio Novembre

(Image credit: Fabio Novembre)

54. Fabio Novembre

Novembre enjoys a reputation as the enfant terrible of Italian product design, never happier than when creating disorder, pushing the boundaries of taste or simply turning everything up to 11. Novembre's recent work includes a hyper-masculine headquarters for his beloved AC Milan football team and their trophy factory exhibition at Casa Milan this year

Ross Lovegrove

(Image credit: Ross Lovegrove)

53. Ross Lovegrove

Industrial designer Lovegrove has applied his ergonomic forms to photorealistic rug designs for Moooi this year, while 2014 saw the Welshman producing 3D-printed gold jewellery for the Louisa Guinness Gallery. Material science, technology and form dominate – as with Liquidkristal, an architectural glass designed for Lasvit

Ron Gilad

(Image credit: Ron Gilad)

52. Ron Gilad

A graduate of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, New York-based Gilad’s work is characterised by his whimsical and critical approach to the design of everyday objects. He is one of those rare designers able to work with ease across varying scales of output, from limited editions to mass production

Patrick Seguin

(Image credit: Patrick Seguin)

51. Patrick Seguin

Few curators can lay claim to transforming the market view of a designer’s entire body of work. With Galerie Patrick Seguin, the French dealer has taken Jean Prouvé into the mainstream and also brought lesser-known works by Charlotte Perriand, Jean Royère, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret into the public eye. This October he bringing unique works to the UK with a new space, opening in London's Mayfair

Kenya Hara

(Image credit: Yoshiaki Tsutsui)

50. Kenya Hara

The Muji art director and principal of his own Hara Design Institute has not only promoted the simplicity of Japanese design to global consumers – he’s also been instrumental in making good design a ‘thing’ for all of East Asia. In addition, he is the motivating spirit behind the touring 'Architecture for Dogs' exhibition, another ‘thing’ altogether. This year, he art directed and edited the  book So Shu Ji Nen, celebrating 35 years of Muji. 

Michael Anastassiades

(Image credit: Hélène Binet)

49. Michael Anastassiades

Longtime Wallpaper* collaborator Anastassiades is a master of restraint. The London-based Cypriot launched his studio in 1994, but it’s arguably his more recent lighting objects for Flos that have really captured the industry’s attention with their simple geometry and stunningly precise construction. 

48. Michele De Lucchi An alumnus of the Cavart, Alchymia and Memphis movements, De Lucchi is an Italian design legend whose work graces museums across the globe. Despite his love for challenging convention, De Lucchi is responsible for bestsellers like the ‘Tolomeo’ lamp, for Artemide, and the ‘First’ chair for Memphis. As an ambassador of this year's Milan Expo, he designed both the Pavilion Zero and 'The Walk' installation.

(Image credit: Mathieu Lehanneur)

47. Mathieu Lehanneur

Lehanneur’s products channel a new approach to technology, one that sees nature transformed into a co-conspirator with the designer. His creations range from Paris’ Electric lounge, through to sleek radios for Lexon and an Audemars Piguet store. Since March of this year the Frenchman has been heading up the design research centre at Chinese tech company Huawei


(Image credit: Delfino Legnani Sisto)

46. Formafantasma

Simone Farresin and Andrea Trimarchi’s studio operates out of Amsterdam. Their work explores the role of design in folk craft using unconventional materials, ranging from basalt – derived from lava – to animal bladders and other offcuts from the food industry, to create bowls, tables, stools and lighting. 

Piero Lissoni

(Image credit: Piero Lissoni)

45. Piero Lissoni

Last year, Lissoni secured a major commission from Ritz-Carlton to create a waterfront condo and villa complex in Miami and a minimalist exhibition design for a Renaissance artist in Milan. Alongside showing products in Milan this year, he created a terrace around the city’s infamous Torre Velasca and presented '1:1 Piero Lissoni' – a New York exhibition devised in collaboration with a host of Brooklyn design studios

Masamichi Katayama

(Image credit: Masamichi Katayama)

44. Masamichi Katayama

Katayama is head of Japanese firm Wonderwall, striding across the globe from one hi-tech Uniqlo store to another, creating art-cum-retail projects like Ginza’s Comme des Garçons store, and a chocolate-bar ceiling for the café at Meiji, Japan’s largest chocolate company, along the way

Antonio Citterio

(Image credit: Antonio Citterio)

43. Antonio Citterio

Citterio is a master at the top of his game, delivering architecture, product design and interiors for blue-chip clients. He is the art director of B&B Italia’s Maxalto collection, and recent projects include Bulgari hotels (from Shanghai to Knightsbridge via Dubai), an inaugural outdoor range for B&B and interiors for the newly opened Mandarin Oriental in Milan

Peter Saville

(Image credit: Getty Images)

42. Peter Saville

Graphic design still owes a sizeable debt to Saville. Having shaped the visual form of 1980s pop culture, he continues to tear up the rule book for those clients who submit masochistically to his whims. Transferring his talents from music to city councils via fashion has only helped heighten his talent for disruption. 

Patrizia Moroso

(Image credit: Patrizia Moroso)

41. Patrizia Moroso

Moroso is art director of the family furniture firm that just celebrated 60 cracking years, especially those since she oversaw the shift from small and craft-based, to working with 40 of the world’s most forward-thinking designers. Following the New York store's success, this year she has focused on Asia, opening a shop in Taichung and exhibiting 'Moroso Interiors' in Taipei

Scholten Baijings Photography Freudenthal Verhagen

(Image credit: Freudenthal-Verhagen)

40. Scholten & Baijings

Carole Baijings and Stefan Scholten epitomise Dutch design diversity, creating fabrics, furniture, glass and homeware in an eclectic array of forms and colours for manufacturers such as Hay, Moooi and Moroso. This year they have released their first book, Reproducing Scholten & Baijings, which takes us on a creative journey of their stylistic assemblages.

Aldo Bakker

(Image credit: Aldo Bakker)

39. Aldo Bakker

The devil is in the detail in the work of Dutch designer Bakker (son of Droog co-founder Gijs). The soft, rounded forms of his everyday objects are carefully crafted in metal, wood, glass and ceramic, often the result of painstaking production processes. His delicate forms found the limelight in Amsterdam this summer with a solo exhibition focusing on his pourers entitled 'Containing Content’

Andrea Branzi

(Image credit: Anna Serena Vitale)

38. Andrea Branzi

Branzi is a veteran of the Italian design scene, a frequent collaborator with architectural magazines such as Domus and Casabella, as well as a key player in Archizoom. His shelving systems continue to attract the plaudits of a younger generation, while collectors are still snapping up his more esoteric pieces. 

Industrial Facility

(Image credit: Sam Hecht, Kim Colin)

37. Industrial Facility

Founded in 2002 by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin, this London studio goes from strength to strength, conceiving the beautifully useful. Its reputation rests on creating a few simple product designs, with a twist, each year for the likes of Muji, Droog, Herman Miller, Issey Miyake, Established & Sons and Tog

Neri Hu By Andrew Rowat

(Image credit: Andrew Rowat)

36. Neri & Hu

This year's W* Design Awards judges, Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu combine city block-sized projects with more delicate small-scale work, garnering design awards and commissions from Camper, De La Espada and Le Méridien, as well as creating a clutch of boutique hotels, flagship offices and private dwellings. 

Anders Byriel

(Image credit: Anders Byriel)

35. Anders Byriel

Kvadrat CEO Anders Byriel has steered the Danish textile manufacturer into a host of collaborations with the art and design world’s finest, including Raf Simons, the Bouroullecs, and Thomas Demand. This year we collaborated with Byriel’s brand to create the large-scale ‘Colour Heaven’ installation in Milan, a tonal tunnel consisting of 600m of their woollen weaves


(Image credit: Troika)

34. Troika

Conny Freyer, Eva Rucki and Sebastien Noel have worked together as Troika since 2003. Their installations blend techno-longing with video and interactive elements, and grace spaces from Heathrow’s T5 to major galleries. Recent work, like Dark Matter and their exhibition 'Limits of a known territory' show a more brooding, sculptural side

Studio Job Photo Zero

(Image credit: press)

33. Studio Job

Antwerp-based husband-and-wife duo Nynke Tynagel and Job Smeets continued to explore the boundaries between art and design this year. From a roller disco set inside Buenos Aires' Faena Art Centre, to the irreverent display of ‘Banana Show’ lights at Belgium's Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery and an upcoming solo show at MAD in 2016, the pair always draw attention with their outlandish and provocative works

Campana Brothers By Fernando Laszlo

(Image credit: Fernando Laszlo)

32. Campana Brothers

Humberto and Fernando’s creative upcycling and design improvisation – influenced by the street life of Santa Cecilia, the area of São Paulo where they have their studio – has been the basis of a string of bestsellers for Edra, as well as big-ticket edition pieces. The pair also work with local NGOs and workers’ co-ops. 

Nadja Swarovski

(Image credit: press)

31. Nadja Swarovski

Is there an aspect of visual culture that hasn’t benefited from the Swarovski sparkle? Since taking control of the family firm’s creative output, Nadja Swarovski has instigated architecture, art, fashion and design collaborations, bringing anyone who’s anyone in modern design into the 120-year-old fold. For the first time, this year the brand sponsored 'Designers of the Future' at Design Miami/ Basel

Jurgen Bey

(Image credit: Tom Croes)

30. Jurgen Bey

As a curator, serial exhibitor and award-winner, Bey’s influence is considerable, inside and outside his Dutch homeland. Last year saw the opening of a research centre for University of Orléans, transformed by Bey from the 17th century Hôtel Dupanloup. This year, he designed interiors for a Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective exhibition in Paris, based on his studio’s ‘Kokon’ furniture series from the late 1990s. 

Pearson Lloyd

(Image credit: Mark Cocksedge)

29. PearsonLloyd

London-based design duo Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson founded their studio 17 years ago, carving out a niche for themselves as the go-to practice for public-realm design. Projects have included groundbreaking healthcare furniture for the NHS, business class suites for Lufthansa, street lighting for Westminster and most recently, a contemporary outlook on office furniture for Teknion. 

Marianne Goebl

(Image credit: Marianne Goebl)

28. Marianne Goebl

Recently appointed managing director of Finnish firm Artek, Goebl has an encyclopaedic knowledge of design. Fluent in five languages, she is the former head of international public relations and partnerships at Vitra and a former director of Design Miami, where she spearheaded the fair’s expansion

Michael Maharam

(Image credit: Dean Kaufman)

27. Michael Maharam

Textiles are in Maharam’s blood; the New York-based business has been in his family for four generations. Now owned by Herman Miller, one of the company’s main customers since the 1960s, Maharam can draw on a vast archive, as well as collaborations with the likes of Paul Smith, Hella Jongerius and the Serpentine Galleries. 


(Image credit: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin)

26. M/M (Paris)

After two decades as Europe’s star art directors, Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag have stretched their singular sinuous lines into interior design, for Thierry Costes’ Hôtel Thoumieux and, last year, Café Français, both in Paris. The pair recently designed a new identity for Loewe which won the 'Best Rebrand' accolade in this year’s Wallpaper* Design Awards

Philippe Starck

(Image credit: James Bort)

25. Philippe Starck

Collaborator Bruno Borrione finally got his name on the door last year as he and Starck formed a ‘new’ design agency, S++B.. Since then, Stark has revealed a 2018 hotel design for Centre Pompidou Metz, created a prototype home for PATH and has had various Milan launches with Kartell, Flos, Glas Italia, Axor, Magis and Tog. 

Gaetano Pesce

(Image credit: Gaetano Pesce)

24. Gaetano Pesce

Now 75, Pesce’s career spans over half a century and straddles the realms of design, art and architecture. The Venetian designer has always ensured that his colourful, often otherworldly designs go beyond function and aesthetics, inviting us to ponder more complex themes of love and empathy, war and religion. This year the Allouche Gallery in New York revealed never before seen works in an iconic show devoted to the designer's oeuvre

The Krzentowskis

(Image credit: Lewis Ronald)

23. The Krzentowskis

Didier and Clémence Krzentowski’s Galerie Kreo has been a Paris design destination for a decade and a half, having commissioned, produced and sold all of the world’s foremost contemporary designers. Last year, it opened in London and this year its French home hosted the arrival of a playful collection by Jaime Hayon entitled 'Game On'. 

Claudio Luti

(Image credit: Riccardo del Conte)

22. Claudio Luti

CEO of Kartell since 1988, Luti has brought the 65-year-old Italian furniture maker into the modern era, with the commercial nous he developed as MD at Gianni Versace. Luti has overseen the annual Salone del Mobile in Milan and naturally was invited to be one of the ambassadors of this year's Expo. 

Ilse Crawford

(Image credit: Leslie Williamson)

21. Ilse Crawford

Few have made the leap from the page to real-world project as well as Ilse Crawford. The progenitor and supreme practitioner of the eclectic approach to interior styling, Crawford's has migrated her good taste to her inaugural collection for Ikea which launched at this year's Stockholm Furniture Fair (where the Brit was also guest of honour).

Jaime Hayon

(Image credit: Jaime Hayon)

20. Jaime Hayon

Hayon set out his creative stall in 2003 with the ‘Mediterranean Digital Baroque’ exhibition at David Gill Galleries. The title perfectly summed up his then-radical embrace of colour, decoration and cartoon-figure curves. This year's highlights include a large 'Urban Perspectives' installation for Mini, sports-style pieces for Gallerie Kreo and a re-designed Room 506 at Arne Jacobsen's SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen

Patricia Urquiola

(Image credit: Roger Deckker)

19. Patricia Urquiola

Our joint W* Designer of the Year, the creations pouring out of transplanted Spaniard Urquiola’s Milan studio in recent years, particularly the collaborations with Moroso and Glas Italia, show a designer at the top of her game: colours, textures and lines are all dynamic and hugely covetable. Photography: Roger Deckker

Tom Dixon

(Image credit: Tom Dixon)

18. Tom Dixon

Following Dixon’s first hotel design for the Mondrian London last year, he remains one of Britain’s best-known design names, even outside the designerati. His studio has been busy this year: working on apartments at Greenwich Peninsula and the forthcoming Multiplex department store at Selfridges, not to mention the myriad furniture and lighting hits seen at Milan, ICFF, Maison & Objet and other important fairs each year


(Image credit: Nendo)

17. Nendo

Oki Sato took Milan by storm in April with a one-year retrospective of his work, from collaborations with Glas Italia and Moroso to Chocolatexture and Tod's. With his consistently cool elegance and a twist of humour, he has also received the crown for Maison & Objet's 2015 'Designer of the Year'

Alberto Alessi

(Image credit: Mads Mogensen)

16. Alberto Alessi

Following in the footsteps of father Carlo and grandfather Giovanni, Alberto took the reins of his family’s company in 1970. Realising the need to evolve the business, he boldly began producing household objects as art, a move that has cemented Alessi’s place as an international design powerhouse. 

Nora Fehlbaum

(Image credit: Dejan Jovanovic)

15. Nora Fehlbaum

Co-CEO of the Swiss furniture brand Vitra, Fehlbaum follows in the footsteps of her uncle Rolf Fehlbaum, who, with his parents Willi and Erika, founded the company in 1957. Having joined the family business in 2010, Nora played a pivotal role in Vitra’s recent acquisition of Finnish company Artek.

Enzo Mari

(Image credit: Enzo Mari)

14. Enzo Mari

Renowned for his refined designs and forthright opinions, the godfather of Italian design has had a consistent and influential presence in the industry for over 50 years. A steadfast supporter of sustainable, open-source design and small-scale, local production, Mari’s principles have always been years ahead of their time

Martino Gamper

(Image credit: Martino Gamper)

13. Martino Gamper

The London-based Italian made his name in 2007 with the found-object speed-design project ‘100 Chairs in 100 Days’. Milan gallery Nilufar then commissioned him to do similar with discarded Giò Ponti pieces. This year, the designer made his debut fashion collaboration, creating sculptural window displays for Prada stores, first launching in Milan and then taken worldwide

Ron Arad Portrait

(Image credit: Ron Arad)

12. Ron Arad

Design’s most famous hat-wearer was made a Royal Academician in 2013, while his iconic designs have been shown all over London, from the Design Museum and the V&A, to 10 Downing Street. His studio is currently working on what will be the tallest building in Tel Aviv

Ingo Maurer

(Image credit: Artcurial)

11. Ingo Maurer

Born in 1932, Munich-based designer Maurer designed his first light fitting in 1966 after a life-changing trip to New York, where he encountered the pop art movement. Simply called ‘Bulb’, his debut design was a brilliantly witty take on what a lamp could be and marked the start of a legendary career. Photography: Artcurial

Marc Newson

(Image credit: Jorn Tomter)

10. Marc Newson

Australia’s design superstar, Newson combines graceful futurism with technical élan. He has shone in the limelight in many ways this year, from becoming Mont Blanc's first external designer in a century, to his remarkable work on the Apple Watch – and if that is not enough, he broke world records in April, with his Lockhead Lounge chair selling for over £2 million, making it the most expensive design piece ever to be sold at auction (its prototype previously held the record). 

Naoto Fukasawa

(Image credit: Naoto Fukasawa)

09. Naoto Fukasawa

Despite his work for IDEO and the Muji CD player, Fukasawa’s sublime understanding of Japanese craft sensibility has few better expressions than last year’s ‘Cha’ tea kettle for Alessi, his ‘Roundish’ sofa for Maruni Wood Industries, this year's kitchen appliances for Muji and his latest sleek smart phone model for KDDI. The Tokyo-based designer is the king of pure lines and great materials

Bouroullec Brothers

(Image credit: Bouroullec Brothers)

08. Bouroullec Brothers

Erwan and Ronan’s status as global design behemoths was underlined last year with major 15-year retrospectives in Paris and at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. After winning the 2014 London Design medal, this year the pair revealed a fresh collection for Artek (which headlined the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair), alongside designs for Vitra, Glas Italia and an intimate book of their drawings to coincide with their 'Cluod' vase collection. Next up: an exciting collaboration with Samsung

Yves Béhar

(Image credit: Yves Béhar)

07. Yves Béhar

Béhar’s XO laptops for One Laptop Per Child are distributed in 60 countries. From health-tracking wristbands to app-controlled thermostats, he is the designer for our perma-connected age. A recent deal saw the partial acquisition of his firm Fuseproject by China’s BlueFocus Communication Group


(Image credit: Edward Barber, Jay Osgerby)

06. BarberOsgerby

London-based designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby were Maison & Objet’s designers of the year in 2013, having been seen globally and winning multiple awards with their Olympic torch in 2012. Last year, the studio won the contract to design interiors, exteriors and livery for the new London Crossrail line

Jasper Morrison Portrait

(Image credit: Jasper Morrison)

05. Jasper Morrison

Kingston Poly’s favourite son is still a blur of activity and awards, from being star of multiple design weeks and exhibitions, to creating cast-iron cookware for Japanese producer Oigen and a linen self-assembly chair for Finnish manufacturer Nikari. Morrison’s career began in the ‘designer decade’ of the 1980s and his pared-down take on items from door handles to lighting captured the zeitgeist. Over the last two decades, the studio’s output has matured nicely, and his principled elegance has been applied to modern electronics and homewares (including the most recent 'Alfi' chairs for Emeco). This year he also curated the prestigious '80!Molteni' exhibition in Milan, celebrating the company's eight decades of fine furniture. A self-confessed obsessive collector, Morrison will always be the ultimate Super Normal guy, with a bloody cool shop, transforming the everyday into desirable objects

Konstantin Grcic

(Image credit: Markus Jans)

04. Konstantin Grcic

Our joint Designer of the Year, Grcic's work combines analytical rigour, formal discipline and a twist of humour. His designs feature everything from mass-market products for Flos to conceptual one-offs for Galerie Kreo. Traditionally trained in the workshops of John Makepeace, Grcic entered the world of industrial design via the RCA. Now well established as Germany’s design superstar, he has become a major draw for collectors and corporations alike. His showbiz structure for Kenya Hara’s poodles is as camp as a row of tents and all the more lovely for it. Recent projects include chairs for Plank, Marsotto and Magis, and branding and interiors for the Hugo Boss IMOCA 60 racing yacht. 

Thomas Heatherwick

(Image credit: Elena Heatherwick)

03. Thomas Heatherwick

A product launch seen by 4.8 billion TV viewers, a first solo retrospective at the V&A, commissions everywhere; to say Heatherwick has had a good few years is an understatement. The British designer’s Kings Cross atelier is a global creative hub, responsible for everything from London buses to gin distilleries, taking in expo pavilions and public sculpture along the way. Heatherwick is the quintessential contemporary creator, an architect, engineer and designer rolled into one, with an obsessive attention to detail and a delight in materials and manufacturing. With British national treasure Joanna Lumley now supporting the studio’s ‘garden bridge’ for London, the practice profile looks set to remain sky-high. 

Hella Jongerius

(Image credit: Hella Jongerius)

02. Hella Jongerius

From KLM’s new business class cabin to the redesign of the Delegates’ Lounge at the UN in New York, Jongerius’ craft-influenced and colour-filled contemporary design continues to win heavy-hitter devotees. An Eindhoven Design Academy alumnus, Jongerius’s career began with the Droog-infused Dutch design renaissance of the early 1990s. Now firmly established as a polymath, she has a broad palette and the ability to shape everything from water bottles and ceramics to textiles and paint. Jongerius’ prototypes from her UN lounge are now located in the V&A and Galerie Kreo, and her recent design output includes collaborations with Vitra and Artek. She is also creating the collectibles of the future – a vase from 2000 was sold for $86,500 in 2012, a record price for her work


(Image credit: : Andrew Zuckerman Studio)

01. Jonathan Ive

No doubt as pleased with his rare, gold Blue Peter badge as his knighthood and  $17m Pacific Heights mansion in San Francisco, Jonathan Ive is perhaps the quintessential example of the designer as potent commercial force. He has managed to sell a story of ultimate functionality and permanent design revolution. Recently promoted to chief design officer at Apple, he has been the head runner for the monolithic brand's big launch at this year's Salone del Mobile: the Apple Watch. He has changed behaviours and created ‘needs’ we never knew we had (we don’t want an iPod/iPhone/iPad, we need one), and been instrumental in turning technology’s cult underdog into the world’s most valuable company. Ive was recruited before the great Jobs-engineered Apple comeback, but it was Jobs who pushed him up the ranks, Ive sharing his mentor’s passion for perfectionism and outsmarting the opposition. Ive has traditionally kept a low-profile, preferring to let his Apple hardware, and now software, speak for itself. But with Jobs gone, and everyone alert to the slightest Apple miss-step, Ive is going to face intense pressure and public scrutiny. He is seen as instrumental in the move towards offering many and various permutations of Apple Watch and strap, and the offer of a high-end version, a shift from the usual Apple’s usual keep it simple strategy. The latest rumours, and Apple generates them by the thousand, are that the company is working on self-driving car, code name Project Titan, currently being tested in California. And given that Ive is a well-known car freak, it’s hard to imagine he hasn’t had a significant part in its design and development. 

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.