This lamp, designed by Jake Dyson, keeps LEDs from getting too hot with a liquid-cooling system borrowed from laptops.

West 8 founder Adriaan Geuze comes stateside to revamp Governor’s Island.

Thomas Heatherwick’s multipetaled cauldron at the 2012 Olympics.

Tom Lloyd and Luke Pearson’s work includes Lufthansa’s new business class, whose seats are oriented in V-shapes that maximize legroom and personal space.

David Holz’s new gestural interface that can detect movements as fine as 1/100th of a millimeter.

Golan Levin leads the Studio for Creative Inquiry where students build innovative designs, such as this baby-raising robot.

50 Designers Shaping The Future: Part 2

The future is being designed. That is one funny idea. But that’s precisely what the 50 designers, educators, and exec­utives in this year’s Co.Design 50 are doing. The Co.Design editors have chosen a group of people who are pushing the boundaries of their discipline into promising new directions. They are experimenting with new ideas about business, sustainability, and usability. Some work with brands that are familiar today; others, we expect, will become household names in the future. Significantly, they’re all masterful collaborators. And what unites all of them is that their projects will affect not only how we live today but also what life might look like just a few years down the line. Click here for an infographic overview and here part 1, 3, 4, 5.

Matias Duarte
Director of Android user experience, Google
Interactive design
Early Android was plagued with design problems, including hard-to-read menus and navigational dead ends. Since taking over design for the now-ubiquitous mobile OS two years ago, Duarte, who led UI development for the superb but doomed Palm Pre, has steadily made Android more beautiful and user-friendly.

Jake Dyson
Founder, Jake Dyson Products

Product design
Who’s going to be the next James Dyson? Maybe his son, Jake, who inherited his father’s keen eye for translating tidbits of tech know-how across product. For example, his latest lamp keeps LEDs from getting too hot with a liquid-cooling system borrowed from laptops. Now he’s trying to reinvent the mundane and fundamental. One concept: a sunscreen applicator that easily reaches your entire back.

Adriaan Geuze
Founder, West 8

Architecture
Rotterdam, Netherlands–based West 8, one of the world’s most daring landscape-design firms, arrives stateside with a revamp of New York’s Governors Island. The 40-acre park show­cases its approach: whimsical, dramatic, and rooted in rigorous studies of how people use public space.

Kenya Hara
Art director, Muji

Graphic design
Product design
Educators and curators

Hara advocates the "super-normal"—that is, ordinary objects made extraordinary by fastidiously careful design decisions. He is a guiding spirit of the Japanese lifestyle retailer Muji’s inspiringly spare design ethos. And his numerous books have made him an influencer in the league of Dieter Rams.

David Eulitt/Kansas City star/MCT via Getty Images

Thomas Heatherwick
Founder, Heatherwick Studio

Product design
Architecture
Transport Design

A Leonardo da Vinci of contemporary design, Heatherwick blends technical wizardry with flights of conceptual fancy. Among his London studio’s creations: a boat shaped like a Möbius strip, the British capital’s new double-decker buses, a bridge that rolls up like a pill bug, and the multipetaled cauldron that lit up the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.

David Holz
CTO, Leap Motion

Interactive design
Holz’s startup will soon release a potentially paradigmatic gestural interface that can detect movements as fine as 1/100th of a millimeter. Forget Kinect-style waving of arms and legs; Holz wants you to control your TV and computer with the twitch of a finger.

Golan Levin
Director, Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University

Educators and curators
Interactive design

If Carnegie Mellon is to technology what Hogwarts is to magic, then Levin is its Dumbledore. He leads the Pittsburgh university’s Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, where students work at the intersection of technology and culture, building robots that can raise babies as well as 3-D cameras that Hollywood can only dream about.

George Kembel
Executive director, Stanford d.school

Educators and curators
Stanford’s d.school, which embraces Ideo’s design-thinking ethos, baffled many educators in its first years. But since then, Kembel has grown the curric­ulum from a few workshops into classes that reach thousands of students each year. The Wall Street Journal has called the d.school the next B-school.

Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd
Founders, PearsonLloyd

Transport design
Interiors
Product design

Premium-class seats are a strapped airline’s best friend and profit center, and Lloyd and Pearson deploy cutting-edge ergonomics and enticing comforts to justify the sky-high prices. Their work includes Lufthansa’s new business class, whose seats are oriented in V-shapes that maximize legroom and personal space.

The Innovation By Design Awards on October 16 will celebrate the controversial ideas, new products, business ventures, and wild ideas highlighted everyday on Co.Design. Award Winners in nine categories will be unveiled at the event. Register today.

A version of this article appears in the October 2012 issue of Fast Company.

Add New Comment

1 Comments