The Electric-Car Man
Franz von Holzhausen
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Tesla Model S is that it's the first mass-produced electric car that's desirable first and green second. With its aerodynamic rear haunches, retractable door handles, and 17-inch dashboard touch screen, it's as lustworthy as any ride on the road—earning the coveted 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award as well as Consumer Reports' highest auto rating ever. Behind this sex appeal is designer Franz von Holzhausen, 45. "If we create things that make people's lives better, then we are doing good design," he says. During his stint as head designer at Mazda, his wickedly expressive proportions and sustainable solutions got great reviews but never really moved the needle inside the company. But they convinced Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who recruited him in 2008 to be Tesla's chief of design. "We have no hundred-year history to draw on, like some other brands," von Holzhausen says. "So we were able to create a design that transcended time." His next challenge? Reinventing the SUV with the Model X sport crossover, due out next year.
Above: Franz von Holzhausen with the Model S at the Tesla Design Studio in Hawthorne, California


The Body Builder
Nathan Harding
The robotic exoskeletons that Nathan Harding makes don't deliver super-strength like the ones in Elysium, even if they are capable of carrying 200-pound loads for several miles. But the 45-year-old CEO of Ekso Bionics is less interested in science fiction than in medical miracles: U.S. rehab centers have been testing his exoskeletons that use battery-powered motors at the hip and knee to trigger movements for paraplegics. "The links in an exoskeleton are a lot like your bones," he says. "And if you do it right, they behave like your bones," giving the wheelchair-bound a chance to get up and walk.
Above: One of Nathan Harding's exoskeletons in action


The Outsider Artist
Bjarne Melgaard
Even by avant-garde standards, the Norwegian painter Bjarne Melgaard, 46, is a canvas of contradictions: a sharp-dressed former weight lifter who's create installations with dainty Chihuahuas as well as graphic S&M pieces. Lately he's moved away from violently scrawled text to subtle psychological portraits. Still, the fact that he's on the cusp of mainstream success surprises the shock artist. "Nobody was receptive to my work at all when I started out," he says.
Above: Bjarne Melgaard's Theresa drunk and fantasizing about dying (oil on canvas, 2013)

• • •

The Makers
 

The Renaissance Man
+ His A-List Collaborators

The Electric-Car Man
+ The Body Builder
+ The Outsider Artist

The Spin Master
+ The Wrap Star
+ The Scent Scientist
+ The Fragrance Archivists
 

The Shape Shifter
+ The Musical Mad Man
+ The Food & Drink Innovators
+ The Life Preserver

The Running Men
+ The Disruptive Designers
+ The E-Commerce Curator

The Bionic Man
+ The Power Ranger
 

The Spice Alchemist
+ The Art World's New Naturalists
+ The Light Sculptor

The Pioneer of 3-D Printing
+ A Brief History of the Technology