The Shape Shifter
Sou Fujimoto
On its surface, the "floating cloud" at London's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion this summer coolly illustrated a Japanese give-and-take between man and nature. But its architect, Sou Fujimoto, 42, went a step further: The roughly 3,800-square-foot structure had no real roof or walls, instead using slender white cubes whose edges seemed to disappear into thin air—building on his early radical transparent designs while appropriating both the physical and the digital meanings of cloud. "I want to create architecture that can embrace such complexities," he says.


The pavilion used 27,000 steel rods and was built in 49 days, all on "a little handkerchief of lawn," says Serpentine curator Sophie O'Brien.


The Musical Mad Man
Joel Beckerman
"I've been called the music shrink," says Joel Beckerman, 50, the founder and lead composer of Man Made Music, who uses his studio as a therapy couch to get corporate clients to express their brand identities and then translates them into sound. Equal parts Philip Glass and Don Draper, he's the pioneering figure in the increasingly influential field of sonic branding. He's worked with more than 40 companies, and each presents the same challenge: Evoke a feeling that then becomes instantly recognizable, if only subconsciously. The results are indelible catchphrase compositions (called mnemonics), which can be as short as a few notes. AT&T's new "logo" was just four notes, but Beckerman and his team created a whole sonic library around it: a main anthem, long and short themes, and a six-note melody (incorporating the four-note logo); ring tones in various musical styles; start-up and shut-down sounds; a sound installation in its flagship store; in-game arrangements for the San Antonio Spurs (who play at the AT&T Center); tones for product placement on TV—each one designed to dial up the same brand in your brain. That's his aim: total recall.

His Greatest Hits
1. AT&T, 2011
To fit the company's new themes of uniqueness and humanity, he used boxes, a broken glockenspiel, a bagpipe, and "a crappy old piano."

2. SUPER BOWL XLVII, 2012
"We had to imagine every single game scenario," Beckerman says.

3. THE WEATHER CHANNEL, 2013
Its new sonic identity delivers "a passionate explorer kind of vibe."


Three to Watch: The Food and Drink Innovators
It all started at a dinner party: When Mike del Ponte, 30, was too embarrassed to put a Brita pitcher on the table, the idea of a stylish and sustainable water filter was born. The former Yale divinity student's Soma is a curvaceous glass carafe topped by a compostable filter made of coconut shells. "It's going to look beautiful and work well," he says.
Designer Martin Kastner, 39, deconstructs tableware the way Grant Achatz does food. To serve the chef's frozen hibiscus-tea lollipops, he made a collapsible tripod; to infuse cocktails, he created the glass Porthole (left); and for Kim Crawford Wines, he built a metal cooling sleeve. "It's about engaging the diner in a different way," he says.
Molecular maestro Dave Arnold, 42—who has created pork rinds that taste like Cracker Jacks and caramelized cocktails with a red-hot poker—wants to get home cooks in the game this fall. He's putting the finishing touches on the Searzall, his patent-pending cooking torch. "It's more like a focused attack weapon," he says—perfect for searing steaks.


The Life Preserver
Francisco Aguilar
The biggest challenge for any first responder is going into a dangerous situation blind. As an M.B.A. student at MIT, Francisco Aguilar, 30, was so affected by the horror stories of rescuers crushed under rubble or poisoned by dangerous gas during the recovery efforts following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that he resolved to find a solution. With his classmate David Young, an Army vet, Aguilar developed a baseball-size throwable camera-sensor that stitches together images captured by six wide-angle lenses, records audio, detects radiation and carbon monoxide levels, and transmits the data back to a smartphone over Wi-Fi. The device, nicknamed the Explorer, is in the final stages of production and is drawing interest from many law-enforcement agencies, but Aguilar expects it to find an audience among hobbyists as well: "One nature photographer wanted to roll it into an animal burrow to see what's inside."
Above: A rubber coating protects six cameras, each of which is surrounded by four infrared illuminators that can capture images in total darkness.

• • •

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