Dror Benshetrit

The multitalented New York-based designer Dror Benshetrit loves injecting a sense of motion into static objects. Take his Vase of Phases, which appears to be caught in mid-shatter, or his ruffled Peacock lounge chair, a rigid felt construction made without sewing or upholstering. His cube-shaped Volume.MGX lamp, created using 3-D-printing techniques, actually folds down to the size of a notebook. Even his interiors and architecture share that sensibility: A planned resort called Nurai Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi, features curvaceous villas that peel out of the grassy earth like waves. "I'm interested in the relationship between poetry and physics," the Israeli-born 34-year-old says. "I like blending the boundaries where art meets design and architecture meets fashion." Benshetrit's latest undertaking is a potentially game-changing engineering venture called QuaDror. The result of years of research into new folding mechanisms, it's a self-supporting hinged joint that is easily transported because it folds flat, is quick to erect, and is rock solid when set up (like an incredibly strong sawhorse). Its possible applications range from tabletop objects to mass-produced furniture to major infrastructure. Benshetrit is already working with manufacturers to bring QuaDror-based products to market, so don't be surprised if it becomes as ubiquitous a building material as the concrete block. Only with more motion.

MEET THE MAKER
Biggest creative hero: There are three: Achille Castiglioni, Buckminster Fuller, and Isamu Noguchi.
Most indispensable tool: A pencil.
The one thing everyone should know how to make: A delicious meal.
An everyday object that is perfectly designed: Nothing is perfect. I can find faults with anything.
Dream project: An airport.

See the slideshow of Dror Benshetrit's work.
By Tim McKeough
Photograph by Matthew Monteith


Thomas Heatherwick

Tourists line up every Friday at noon to watch as Thomas Heatherwick's Rolling Bridge, a short pedestrian span in London, curls up and straightens out like a giant steel pill bug. His Seed Cathedral, a 66-foot-tall dandelion-like structure built from 60,000 slender fiber-optic rods that glow at night, was one of the biggest attractions at last year's World Expo in Shanghai, and his top-secret Olympic cauldron for next year's London Games is eagerly anticipated. But the 41-year-old Brit is interested in more than urban curios. "Our projects are solving problems," he says. "We're not trying to be wacky." His 2010 redesign of London's famed double-decker buses perfectly merged form and function. But it's a volcano-shaped bioenergy plant planned for a blighted industrial town in the north of England that best exemplifies his approach: Quiet, clean, and integrated into the landscape, it's meant to lure residents up its tree-covered slopes. "You can even have a bar mitzvah or get married there," he says. With these ventures focused on places where people actually spend their time, he hopes to create an alternative to the Bilbao effect. "They're a wonderful thing, but arts alone won't save the whole world," he says. "Infrastructure can too."

MEET THE MAKER
Biggest creative hero: My father.
Most indispensable tool: My eyes.
The one thing everyone should know: How to make a fool of themselves.
An everyday object that is perfectly designed: Nothing is perfectly designed.
Dream project: A hospital.

See the slideshow of Thomas Heatherwick's work.
By Michael Silverberg
Photograph by Donald Milne


Scott Wilson

When it comes to reading the Zeitgeist of the productsphere, Chicago designer Scott Wilson has few peers. Last year, he posted TikTok and LunaTik, a pair of kits that transform the touchscreen iPod Nano into a Dick Tracy-esque wristwatch, to the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter.com. He had been hoping to raise $15,000 to manufacture them but instead brought in nearly a million dollars, making it the most successful project in the site's history. The 42-year-old head of the design firm MINIMAL is best known for his work on Microsoft's Kinect sensor (as well as the new Xbox 360), which struck a balance between boldness and utility that helped make it the fastest-selling consumer-electronics product ever. "Visually, I want to be disruptive," he says, "but if it's too shocking it won't sell." Wilson, whose résumé also includes Swingline staplers, Nike workout watches, and conference chairs for Coalesse, says he hopes now to turn his focus to medical products, including a new handheld device that instantly diagnoses coronary-artery disease. "I like to balance the lifestyle stuff with the stuff that nobody ever notices—except the people using it."

MEET THE MAKER
Biggest creative hero: Steve Jobs, great creative dictator and right-brain leader.
Most indispensable tool: My iPhone.
The one thing everyone should know how to make: A decision.
An everyday object that is perfectly designed: I've been sitting in the same Aeron chair since 1996. It's not perfect. Nothing is. But it has stood the test of time.
Dream project: An electric utility vehicle.

See the slideshow of Scott Wilson's work.
By Daniel Sieberg
Photograph by Matthew Monteith


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