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4 Young Designers To Watch

Designer Ilona Gaynor once planned a Hollywood-worthy heist at five Los Angeles banks, combining fact, fiction, and suspense to create art focused on exposing the judicial system’s absurdities. Now she’s exploring that same theme of “disrupting the law” during a six-month residency at London’s Design Museum, where her latest project opened to the public last week. Like the interactive L.A. heist, this installation involves visitors in a whodunit case rife with loopholes, twists, and turns.

Disruption, Gaynor says, is about “how you can use ingenuity and cunning to attack something from a different perspective.” Projects by three other designers-in-residence are included alongside Gaynor’s in a Design Museum exhibition that explores the use of design as a vehicle for disruption. Young and ambitious, the residents embody the design community’s growing interest in solving thorny socioeconomic and political problems, a realm that was once the purview of technocrats.


James Christian, an architectural designer and educator with a working method rooted in history, developed housing models for modern London and brought them to life with comic book-style illustrations. Patrick Stevenson-Keating, founder of design consultancy Studio PSK, chose to question our currency-based understanding of value by building a working cash machine, a new currency, and devices for credit card payments. Torsten Sherwood, an architect and product designer, focused on reinventing children’s play, redesigning traditional building blocks as cardboard discs that intuitively recombine in myriad ways.

Applications for next year’s Design Museum residency, focused on the theme of “migration,” open later this month.

[h/t Design Museum]AH