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A Look at the Most Influential Designers

The most influential designers in the world have shaped our culture for centuries. Today, some architects are using their skills to help solve environmental, social, and economic issues.

Younger designers in architecture seem to have taken notice of this trend, and many are opting to focus their work on projects that serve the communities they live in. These include schools, kindergartens, rural clinics, and pocket parks.

Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier is one of the most influential designers of modern architecture. His ideas about immense, rationalized, zoned, and industrially-constructed cities both shocked and seduced a global audience.

He designed buildings in Europe, North America, India, and Japan. His ideas also influenced architects and urban planners around the world, including Lucio Costa in Brazil and Frantisek Lydie Gahura in the Czech Republic.

Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry is one of the most influential architects in the world. He has created several masterpieces throughout his career, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

The architect’s designs are filled with exhilarating ways to shatter and re-assemble architectural forms. He often draws inspiration from art and fine design, using a combination of building technology and 3D computer modeling to create his structures.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the most influential designers of all time. His organic philosophy and decentralized approach to architecture have influenced designers from around the world.

Wright designed many masterpieces during his career, including the iconic Guggenheim Museum in New York City. His design also made use of a variety of natural materials, such as glass and steel.

Pierre Cardin

From the parabolic drapes of his 1950s “Lasso” collection to his kinetic dresses of 1972, Cardin’s designs emitted light through reflective and electric means. He also developed a range of accessories with illuminated patterns, including hats, visors, and the iconic Fashion Tress wig.

The couturier paved the way for modern unisex design with a bold, geometric vocabulary. He incorporated foils, plastics, and self-named Cardine synthetic fabric into his clothing for a daring, futuristic look.

Marc Jacobs

A renowned designer, Marc Jacobs possesses an uncanny ability to capture the essence of New York cool. From his early days as a stock boy at Charivari to the present, he has infused his designs with a semblance of the city’s edgy culture.

Jacobs’ style is influenced by the likes of Halston, Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent. He translates their tongue-in-cheek quirkiness into his collections with a discerning eye and a keen ear for music.

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 into a family with close ties to the textile industry. Her parents owned a gallery and a tapestry restoration workshop.

Her childhood traumas – her mother’s illness and death, her father’s philandering and the horrors of the First World War – would later find expression in her art. She was also anxious and agoraphobic.

Alexander McQueen

A bona fide legend and icon of fashion, Alexander McQueen shaped the industry for generations to come. He pushed the limits of design, art, celebrity, and provocation to unprecedented levels, making him a force to be reckoned with.

Nature was a major source of inspiration for McQueen, who often turned models into birds, horned creatures and zombies in his collections. His designs also embraced ugliness, something many of his competitors avoided.

Louise Westwood

Westwood wasn’t a fashion designer in the traditional sense. She started out selling jewellery on London’s Portobello Road and met her first husband, Derek Westwood, who she married in a homemade dress.

Her business partnership with Malcolm McLaren, later the promoter of punk band Sex Pistols, was a pivotal part of her early career and she quickly established herself as one of the most influential designers. She used her public profile to champion issues including nuclear disarmament and to protest against anti-terrorism laws and government spending policies that hit the poor.

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