Top 5 design influencers of 2012

2012 has been quite an impressive year for London what with the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics. In terms of design, its gave us the biggest Design Festival yet as well as a string of memorable moments (and people) along the way. So we're summing up the year by highlighting five top designers. 'Only five' we hear you say? But these are just a handful from the many awesome designers who have shined this year, so our choice is intentionally a little bit eclectic.
First and perhaps most obvious and certainly well deserved is Thomas Heatherwick. Hailed as 'the Leonardo da Vinci of our times' by Terence Conran, Heatherwick was the brains behind the jaw-dropping Olympic Cauldron this year. To slightly less fanfare, but just as note-worthy, he also designed the new bus for London earlier this year, a state-of-the-art redesign of the classic Routemaster bus. [Picture credit: Iwan Baan]

Next up is Max Fraser, publisher of the London Design Guide and now the new Deputy Director of the London Design Festival. Since publishing his first book Design UK (Conran Octopus) in 2001, Max has worked for himself so it wasn't surprising that he endured a bit of a friendly ribbing about his first ‘proper job’. A few months later, The New York Times said: 'Apologies to Milan and Tokyo. Regrets to Stockholm and Paris. Forgive me, Eindhoven, Berlin, Barcelona and, most particularly, New York. But London is the design capital of the world.' We think that says it all. [Picture Credit Ed Reeve].

We think Barber and Osgerby are rather fabulous too and this year saw the unveiling of their Olympic torch  - the most symbolic design of the Games. Here, Jay Barber is pictured with his co-created bench ‘Western Façade’ for Established & Sons as part of the V&A’s London Design Festival installations.

Lee Broom (pictured below) is our next choice. His 'crystal bulb' was one of the must-have design items of 2012,  and he even created a one-off version in bright yellow for the Maggie’s Joy of Living campaign, instigated by none other than Max Fraser. Maggie’s provide emotional, practical and social support to people with cancer so it was great cause, and proved what we already knew about Lee – that he’s a really nice chap.

And speaking of lovely people, our last pick for 2012 is Mini Moderns. Not only has Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire consistently produced gorgeous design items but they also took the time this year to take part in Boost. A mentoring and development initiative from the Southbank Centre, Boost offers advice and financial support for six new designers to help launch their product in the Southbank Centre shop.

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Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor

View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor