Francesca Lanzavecchia, 30, is Italian and met the Singaporean Hunn Wai, 33, while studying at Design Academy Eindhoven. Shortly after, in 2009, they formed their eponymous firm in Denmark.
And though the pair’s work easily skips across the globe—look for them to make a bigger splash at this year’s SingaPlural show in Singapore than at Salone—their unique vantage point on the design world has imbued them with a quality rising stars so often lack: empathy. We love their 2012 “No Country for Old Men” collection, a series of high-design aids for the elderly. Aimed at filling the “gap between the medical and domestic world,” says Wai, “we are speaking with health furniture manufacturers and health-care institutions to realize this inclusive vision.” The series includes a cane equipped with a tea tray, the Assunta chair that tips forward to help you stand up, and an LED reading light that magnifies a page. Other equally tactile pieces include the Fragmented Cabinets from 2011, storage pieces with drawers that “open” by stretching their fabric.