The Running Men
Nike's Free Hyperfeel Team
Say hello to the Nike super-shoe: Like a fitness Frankenstein, the Free Hyperfeel takes the best elements of the company's most recent releases and turns them into a breakthrough, better-than-barefoot minimalist running shoe. Weighing just 6.4 ounces, it's made of only seven pieces—a typical Nike sneaker has more than 50—and took over eight years to engineer. Fewer parts make this shoe more like a sock in fit (knit and compressive) and feel (light and flexible). The trio who dreamed it up—Tony Bignell, 41, vice president of footwear innovation; Sean McDowell, 42, vice president of running; and Lee Holman, vice president of apparel design—dissect the revolutionary runner.

Three to Watch: The Disruptive Designers
Experimental Jetset
For the Whitney Museum's new logo, this Amsterdam graphic-design collective—Marieke Stolk, Erwin Brinkers, and Danny van den Dungen—found a solution in just four straight lines, which form what they call a "responsive W," an emblem that can expand and contract in an almost infinite number of ways.
James Corner
The acclaimed landscape architect of New York's High Line, James Corner, 52, has also turned run-down parks in Seattle and Philadelphia (shown here) into stunning urban spaces. Now at work on Chicago's famed Navy Pier, he compares his designs to scenography, or plot twists in a novel—"except we're doing it with bodies in motion."
Rich Brilliant Willing
This year, the design trio of Theo Richardson, Charles Brill, and Alexander Williams took over a 2,500-square-foot space in Brooklyn to start producing, storing, and shipping their works—like the new aluminum Gala chandelier (shown here)—themselves. "We've just been trying to give our work a more human touch," Richardson says.

The E-Commerce Curator
Ambra Medda
Somehow, high-end design has missed out on the explosion of e-commerce destinations. But serial maverick Ambra Medda, 32, who first upended the industry in 2005 when she cofounded Design Miami, is filling the void with a site she's calling a "Wikipedia of design": L'ArcoBaleno. With backing from the likes of Tom Dixon and Reed Krakoff, it has her trademark mix of cutting-edge galleries and well-curated next big things, offering both classic Marcel Breuer chairs and exclusives from emerging stars like Moritz Waldemeyer. "If we don't help you discover new things," Medda says, "we will have failed."

Ambra Medda's design site, L'ArcoBaleno, sells stylish wares like the daybed and rattan stool above, both by designer Joseph-André Motte.

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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