Architectural Digest drew up a list of men and women who are already well-known to their peers, yet whose masterpieces are still ahead of them. They asked: What does innovation mean in 2011? Who are the talents doing the most inventive new work?
Editors cast the net wide, sizing up interior designers and architects, but also considering forward-thinking, provocative names in other disciplines. The Innovators are featured in a video series in which they discuss how new ideas are shaping their disciplines.
AD learned that 'play' is in. Examples are Jennifer Steinkamp’s digital-art versions of trompe l’oeil; Paul Cocksedge’s vaselike lamp, which switches on with the insertion of a flower; and Bjarke Ingels’s prize-winning design for a waste-to-energy plant on the outskirts of Copenhagen that will double as a giant artificial ski slope.
Highlighting 'process' is important to these creators, too. The furniture and lighting from the collective Rich Brilliant Willing has both polished and knocked-together qualities. The interiors by in-demand firm Roman and Williams teem with intentional flaws and imperfections. And Suzanne Tick’s new textiles are conspicuously handmade; you can see the hours of labor it took to produce them.
Most names on the list benefited from early mentoring; many keep issues of sustainability in mind; all are looking hard at the future in their work.