21 Most Influential

1. Seattle Public Library, OMA.
It has had so much press this year you can fill a whole bookshelf… The involvement of the Library direction and staff are considered to be as important as the architects’ job, which is great.

2. Joris Laarman
Everyone can’t seem to get enough of him. And I think he deserves all the talk, too.

3. index Awards, Copenhagen
Great initiative, to call on organisations and institutions from around the world to elect the best contributions for people’s lives in terms of design makes our activity not only more worthwhile, but more enriching and complete. Big expectations for 2005.

4. Dunne & Raby
Fiona and Tony should always have a place in design activity and discussion. I love their sense of observation and irony towards everyday objects

5. Light transmitting concrete.
I’m waiting for someone to use it somewhere near me…

6. Experimentadesign – Bienal de Lisboa
Creating an international design event with almost no money (compared to others around the world) and not even half its budget from public funding is no small task. Making it Portugal’s biggest regular cultural event, and a non-commercial celebration of design and project culture that is more and more taking its firm place in the global design calendar is a great feat.

7. Frank Gehry. It’s hard to ignore it, but everyone STILL wants their Guggenheim…

8. The mobile phone. with our without camera

9. SMS

10. iPod, and best of all, iPod’s white headphones: try to walk a day in Paris, London or New York and count how many people you see with white headphones. It’s great. Best design of the past 10 years, no doubt.

11. China. The New Eldorado. Where money, people, water and steel flow constantly and shamelessly.

12. Manuel Castells. Read him and you’ll better understand what’s around you.

13. Swedish women designers. No other country has so many good female designers these days.

14. European medium cities. Forget the big ones where rents are high and quality of living is low. Copenhagen, Stockholm, Barcelona, Vienna, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Prague, Lisbon, even Ljubljana or Helsinki are a lot nicer to work, live and occasionally escape from.

15. Peter Bilak and Stuart Bailey, Dot Dot Dot. Graphic Design’s foremen in lateral thinking and inspirational publishing

16. Eduardo Campo Baeza. Where sun is heat rather than light, or where observation, attention to history and reflection take over hype and übermodern diagrammatic bullshit, Campo Baeza proves he’s one of today’s greatest, and most humble, architects.

17. IKEA. You just can’t avoid it.

18. The EU Flag. Whatever Rem Koolhaas thinks, the 12 stars over a blue background are probably the sign of the world’s last utopia.

19. Trains. Nicer, more comfortable and more respectful towards the environment than any other means of transport. With the growing High Speed links popping up all over Europe, and signs that a few low-cost airlines are starting to crash, will trains be again part of our everyday life as planes are now? I really hope so.

20. DIN Mittelschrift. No other font is probably more used today by graphic designers around the world, and I guess will still be using. Well, the German federal government has been doing it for decades…

21. Blogs. Speak your mind, get in touch with friends, provoke discussion on a global level. Democracy never came this far.

I was one of the recipient of this email from Marcus Fairs, sent Nov 30th, 2004:
“It’s us again! Our 21st issue is coming up, and we’re planning something special. We want to feature the 21 most influential people/organisations/buildings/objects in contemporary architecture and design.
Can you help us by suggesting who and what should be on the list? And why? We want the list to be bang up to date, and full of surprises… So who are the hot youngsters who everyone else is copying, or will copy in the future? Which are the buildings or products that are setting the benchmark for the 21st century?
Look forward to hearing from you!
Love, icon”
I was in Fabrica then, so one night I just made my list and sent. After they got it, I was asked to elaborate a bit more on Dunne & Raby and that was how I ended up, a few months later, asking Marcus if I could send some article ideas to them. A few ended up printed.

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