Best in class: Today's great designers reveal their all-time favorite designs

Published 23rd May 2017
Credit: ThomasVogel/E+/Getty Images
Best in class: Today's great designers reveal their all-time favorite designs
Each May, New York is taken over by the exhibitions, installations, talks and trade shows that comprise the citywide NYCxDesign festival.
In honor of the occasion, CNN Style asked 11 of the most exciting designers presenting in New York to reveal the defining designs that have help shape their practice and inspire their creative vision.

The definitive lamp: Louis Poulsen's PH lamp

Todd Bracher: "My definitive pendant light is the Louis Poulsen PH Lamp (1958). The PH Lamp was a category-defining lamp (and a cultural one as it defined also 'Danish style'). It was the first pendant lamp that considered layering light for an optically pleasing effect, creating a soft light throw."
"Vessel takes this logic to the next level through physics, fully resolved through a complete understanding of physics and collaboration with optical scientists."
"Essentially, Vessel is the future of lighting, science and physics, standing on the shoulders of the category defined by the classic Louis Poulsen PH pendant lamp collection."

The definitive console: Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier LC16 - re-edited by Cassina.
Le Corbusier LC16 - re-edited by Cassina. Credit: Cassina
Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance: "The furniture that I've designed for Saint-Louis has been inspired by simple shelves that would be able to store the archive of Saint-Louis stock in an attic."
"In a same way, the furniture designed by Le Corbusier is composed of an assembly of simple wooden boxes. Though it may look rudimentary at first sight, this piece of furniture rethinks assembly and proportion to restore glory and beauty to practicality.

The definitive ceramic: Max Lamb

The Max Lamb collection at 1882.
The Max Lamb collection at 1882. Credit: courtesy 1882 Ltd.
Lee Broom: "I really admire what the 1882 brand are doing with ceramics, they're really innovating the industry and the collection with Max Lamb is very different from other ceramics out there."
"It's a very modern collection and a very striking interpretation of a very traditional material, craft and skill."

The definitive glass work: Libenský and Brychtová

Libenský & Brychtová, Red Pyramid, 1993-99.
Image courtesy of  Heller Gallery, New York
Libenský & Brychtová, Red Pyramid, 1993-99. Image courtesy of Heller Gallery, New York Credit: Heller Gallery, New York
John Hogan: "I'm Selecting Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová's work. They were a husband and wife collaboration that pioneered the processes of casting glass to make sculpture in the Czech Republic."
"Their collaboration started in 1954 and continued until Stanislav died in 2002. Libensky was a painter and Brychtova a sculptor. Together they developed a work-flow and aesthetic language focused on the abstraction of light and color in space using glass primarily as a lens."

The definitive table: Donald Judd

Fernando Mastrangelo: "I love reduction, it's very hard to reduce an object to its bare essentials and allow the materials to speak, transform, and transport. I think of Richard Serra, he only uses one material, metal, and then he bends it, and it becomes a painting, a sculpture, a piece of architecture, an installation, and it transports the audience physically and mentally. That's powerful."
"Donald Judd does the same with his furniture, it's about plywood, and allowing the natural beauty of the wood to sing. The designer should be a filter for what nature provides and re-contextualize it to expand our understanding of its natural beauty."

The definitive sculpture: Isamu Noguchi

Alain Ellouz: "Isamu Noguchi was one of the 20th century's most important and critically acclaimed sculptors."
"As a sculptor he was one of my masters of inspiration. I am always captivated by the simplicity and sophistication of his language. That same identity, subtle and bold, that characterizes our work."

The definitive coffee table: Diego Giacometti

Samuel Amoia: "For my definitive piece, I would chose any Diego Giacometti piece, console or coffee table."
"The form, the refinement, the restraint, and the energy for each piece he sculpted is the definition of modern in my opinion. His work is incredibly timeless, transitional, and stands up to any contemporary work today."

The definitive sofa: The 'Indiscret'

Dating back to the second French empire, this Napoleon III era design joins three armchair seats into one clover-shaped furniture piece.
Louis Lim: "I don't consider the Mobius as strictly a bench, nor would I classify the Indiscret as a sofa, because the social interaction it proposes goes beyond the basic utility. There are many modern artists and designers doing amazing pieces along this line, but to me, the Indiscret started it all. It's an object that forces interesting and odd social interactions, the form is incredibly unique and beautiful. It defines public interaction, creating an intimate place for strangers to connect, yet oddly still separates each of us."

The definitive mirror: Gio Ponti's F.A. 33 mirror

Leah Ring: "In my opinion, the most definitive mirror is Gio Ponti's F.A. 33 mirror."
"I love that it was designed in 1933 but still holds up in contemporary interiors and has quite a modern feel. The curves and irregular shape have become iconic and it is uniquely elegant without being too fussy.
The F.A. 33 mirror also plays nicely with a wide range of interior styles, which I think is truly the sign of a well-designed piece. It's timeless and it elevates the overall feel of a space."

The definitive bench: George Nelson's platform bench

Vestre and Snøhetta agreed that their definitive bench design would be George Nelson's platform bench (1946).
Jan Christian Vestre, CEO of Vestre: "It is a classic that continues to inspire street furniture design due to its architectural character."

The definitive light design: Castiglioni and Manzu's Parentesi

Andrea Anastasio: "If I have to select one light design, then it's Parentesi by A. Castiglioni and P. Manzu. It has been designed in 1970 and it is difficult to strip bare the components of a lamp beyond that point. Yet you have a great design piece characterizing the space in a very performative and sculptural way."
"It can rotate 360 degrees and move vertically from the ceiling down to the floor, focusing onto the specific place one wishes to highlight. It is easy to install and to transport. Parentesi has been a powerful source of inspiration in my work and Filo shares a similar approach."
NYCxDesign is on until May 24, 2017.