Shapers of Design: Emerging Global Design Innovators 2022

February 21, 2022




Long before social media altered the landscape of consumption, influencers and innovators were two distinct actors within the trend life cycle. Firstly, influencers act as the bridge between new ideas and the wider pool of spectators that disseminate the trend. Innovators, on the other hand, are the avant-garde enthusiasts of their fields producing ideas that challenge the norm.

Spotted signals in 2021 triggered innovators from different industries to celebrate life through creative nostalgia. Emerging is an infatuation for altered realities, specifically around themes of emotion, sustainability, and visions of the future. Further, they present innovative ideas that reinvigorate the tried-and-true, incite cultural shifts, and reinvent what’s next to come.

Shane Wheatcroft – Analogue Collage

The age-old practice of image and ephemera assemblage remains to be a deeply personal medium. As an innovator in this field, Shane Wheatcroft creates evocative collages and assemblages of modern social scenes using vintage ads. Combining touches of surrealism and the social wit of pop art reminiscent of Magritte and Warhol, his analog pieces translate well on digital platforms.

Mari Koppanen – Fomes Range

The exploration of nostalgia persists even in sustainable design. Revisiting age-old traditions and practices became a staple movement this year. Mari Koppanen is a noted innovator unearthing bio-material engineering methods from the past to create sustainable products for the future. Her Fomes Range features a mushroom-shaped pouf seating upholstered with suede-like amadou, a bio-leather. Rivaling the synthetic processed mushroom-leathers dominant in sustainable fashion today, amadou is derived from the fungus that has been traditionally grown and manufactured in Transylvania for centuries.

Erez Nevi Pana – Vegana Banana Cocoon and Banana Bag Chair

Vegana Capsule Collection by Nevi Pana

Heavily driven by sustainability and climate change, Vegan design innovator Erez Nevi Pana fuses art and design with his collection of banana-fiber shelter materials fit for an imagined climate-changed Milan. That is to say, he pulls from a tropical context to grow his own banana material used for a collection of circular products. These products include a human cocoon, hammock, and a bag-like chaise—human items he envisions to be necessary for the possible future.

Veliz Arquitecto – Metaverse Architectural Designer

In another realm of future design, the Metaverse has since grown to prominence with the present amplification of digital platforms. It also offers alternative worlds and galactic lifestyles. Architect and interior designer Jorge Luis Veliz Quintana innovate the virtual real estate scene with his marvels coined ‘Meta Mansions’. In addition, his other conceptual design work echoes these themes, showcasing fantastical forms and grandiose spaces melding design and technology embedded in natural settings.

Julius Horsthuis – Fractal Artist

In virtual reality, Julius Horsthuis has been a mainstay innovator of XR. He started it since the platform’s rise to popularity in the 2010s. Inspired by Christopher Nolan ala ‘Inception’ and ‘Interstellar’, he is a pioneer of fractal art. They are infinite graphic worlds strung by patterns and mathematics. The elevated immersiveness of XR provides the perfect platform for Horsthuis’ fractal landscapes. It also orchestrated for the viewer like an experience of living architecture.

To sum up, stirring projections of the fractality of our future environments, these shapers of global design provide the framework upon which our socio-cultural movements must build.

Article Credits: Research by ACIIID; Cover Art by Studio Almera©

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