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Rolling Stone's Top 20 Designers

Alice Rawsthorn and Paula Antonelli have selected the top 20 designers of the future for Rolling Stone Magazine.  Four Dutch designers made the list. 

By Editor / 07-04-2011

To coincide with next weeks’ Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Rolling Stone Magazine asked design critic Alice Rawsthorn and senior design curator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Paola Antonelli to compile a list of who they think are the hottest twenty designers – the ones who will have the biggest influence on design over the next decade.

When presenting their list, Rawsthorn and Antonelli said their main worry was not having equal representation from all disciplines: "Especially the new ones, that will be increasingly important in the future," writes Rawsthorn

They also wanted to avoid having the list dominated by names from Western Europe and North America at the expense of emerging designers located in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The only thing they didn't worry about was a shortage of women. "Our list is equally balanced between the sexes," writes Rawsthorn.

This is how they describe the character of the final list:

"Our list is focused on the future so many of our chosen designers work in these fledgling fields. Had we stuck to traditional areas such as graphic or product design, the gender balance may have been different. A defining quality of these new disciplines — and the evolution of older ones — is collaboration, both between individuals and by fusing elements of different fields, something that women tend to do well."

Five Dutch designers made the list - Christien Meindertsma, Joost Grootens, Metahaven, Formafantasma and the Dutch-Arabic network, Khatt Foundation.

Here are the evaluations given by Rawsthorn and Antonelli:

Christien Meindertsma
The Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma is at the forefront both of conceptual or "critical" design, and the tendency of young designers to explore rural culture, which has traditionally been taboo in design, specifically its often unpalatable politics. She did so brilliantly in Pig 05049  in which she traced what happened to all of the components of a single pig, finding them in glue, beer and bullets as well as bacon and sausages.

Joost Grootens
Dutch multimedia-turned-book designer who has exemplified lateral thinking in design by reinventing the traditional atlas for the age of sat nav, Google Earth and the Internet.

Dutch design provocateurs who use graphic design as a tool to explore political and cultural issues by identifying and executing speculative projects such as an identity for Wikileaks.

Khatt Foundation
A Dutch-Arabic network of designers and design theorists seeking to stimulate debate on design in the Arabic world and to use type design, in particular to build bridges and foster understanding.

Young Italian product designers who develop collections of very beautiful conceptual objects to explore political issues - cultural identity, rural poverty, the decline of craft traditions, and the plight of asylum seekers in Italy. Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin both studied at Design Academy Eindhoven and are still based in Eindhoven.

Image: Rawsthorn presents the 2009 Rotterdam Design Prize to Joost Grootens.

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