Fredrik Färg originally wanted to be an interior architect, but the urge to create objects with his hands won out. Inspired by art and passionate about fashion, he is driven to experiment. “For me, designing is about learning how to make things by making mistakes and breaking rules,” he says
A self-proclaimed “collector of old stuff,” designer Yota Kakuda finds inspiration in vintage objects found in junk shops and flea markets. He is constantly gathering vinyl records and inexpensive antiques because “the stuff that survives throughout history must be a strong object.” He holds a special appreciation for mingei, meaning “handcrafted art of ordinary people” in Japanese, as his mother owned many of these simple, utilitarian pieces—such as ceramic bowls, wood carvings, and textiles—when he was growing up.
Federico Churba graduated from the industrial design program at the University of Buenos Aires in 2001, right on the cusp of Argentina’s economic crisis and the collapse of its peso. His country’s reduced reliance on imports and shift to domestic industry meant a short testing period for young designers. “There was a strong pull to start producing immediately and showing the world what we could do,” says Churba. From the beginning, he was interested in manipulating material and forms to create simple, newly iconic shapes. An early influence was Vico Magistretti and his 1986 Vidun table, whose height-adjustable base is an outsized wooden screw.
Renée Rossouw funneled her various fixations into a single focus when she spent 2010 pursuing the Master of European Design Labs, an interdisciplinary degree program directed by Spanish designer Jaime Hayon. The program is based in Madrid, but students travel to various European cities. Rossouw, 26, had just completed a master’s in architecture, but she was on less sure footing regarding other types of design. “I was interested in design from a young age, but I never felt I truly understood it,” she says. “South Africa is a craft-oriented country, but we don’t actually have a design industry.”
If 28-year-old Henry Wilson were not a designer, he would be a skipper. After one chaotic trip to the Milan furniture fair several years ago, Wilson began to question the necessity of producing new things in a “stuff”-saturated world. So he found a timber boat and sailed it from Spain to Thailand. After the trip, he says, he had gained some jarring perspective on the size of the world and his relative place in it.
Pia Wüstenberg, a young German-Finnish designer based in London, graduated just last year from the Royal College of Art (RCA). But a glance at her portfolio, peppered with quirky and carefully handcrafted pieces, reveals that the 25-year-old designer has already found her visual identity.