The Design Life: What Inspires This Year’s Dwell 24?



Learn how our favorite emerging talents live, work, and dream design in 2019.

We asked each of this year’s Dwell 24 about their everyday lives as designers. What inspires them? What does a typical workday look like? Who are their heroes? Follow along with the infographics below to read their responses.

Illustrations by Raymond Blesinger

  1. Fact: Among the 24 rising designers, the majority (74%) are right-handed, although a couple are ambidextrous.
  2. When asked about their heroes in design or in life, we received a range of responses: “Hans Wegner (in design) and Michael Jordan (in life),” says Samson Wang; “Olafur Eliasson,” is Ian Cochran’s response; and Marla Camerena responds with “Immigrants—people who leave behind and risk everything for a better life.”
  3. What contemporary design trends do the Dwell 24 despise? “Soft, squishy things,” says Urvi Sharma; “I can tell I’m getting older by my response: the ugly-beautiful situation running about. I like organic forms and surprising material combinations, but this new stuff is beyond my comprehension,” adds Mark Grattan; “All of it,” Aaron Aujla bluntly states; and “Any trend that ignores environmental issues,” is Maria Camarena’s response.
  4. Fact: Almost half (48%) of this year’s Dwell 24 prefer Bauhaus over Memphis and Brutalist, with 22 percent and 30 perfect, respectively.
  5. Fact: The group’s preference for form, function, or fun in design is practically split in thirds, with fun only slightly edging out the others.
  6. Fact: These emerging designers prefer to live in the present, and only a couple (11%) consider the past influential to their work.
  7. Here’s what a few had to say when asked about their most treasured possession: “A pine tree, actually,” states Simon Schmitz; “In my studio, my manual Muji pencil sharpener. In my purse, my silver hairpin fromBali gifted to me by someone dear to my heart,” says Paola Sakr; “My moleskin. I never leave home without it, cliché as it may sound,” notes Gabriel Tan.
  8. Fact: Most of this year’s Dwell 24 continue to sketch the old fashioned way—with a pen—and only a few (15%) prefer to sketch on a computer.

Illustrations by Raymond Blesinger

  1. When it comes to the skills our Dwell 24 designers would most like to learn, their responses are varied: “The ability to carve the human figure in marble. But more importantly, being able to capture the figure’s soul in the sculpture,” says Ryan Heinz; “negotiation tactics,” adds Stein Wang; “proper Italian pasta making,”  responds Joel Booy; and “teleportation, a kind of super strength like in Marvel comics,” is Mario Tsai’s answer.
  2. While we all daydream about we might have in our dream home, here’s what this year’s Dwell 24 would include: “Secret passageways,” says Urvi Sharma; “a separate refrigerator for ice cream and a library with a spa,” answers SeonHee Kim; “a cedar-wood sauna(on a lake!),” responds Kate Booy; “a room full of all my favorite stationery in the world, including some items I can’t get anymore. I’d call it the StationeryMuseum,” says Nicki Shen; and “an indoor hammock,” notes Miranda Tengs Brun.
  3. The group had a lot of ideas for everyday objects they would like to redesign. Says SeonHee Kim: “For a long time I dreamed of a folding house that I can keep in my car, like the cartoon character Doraemon. I’d love to design a folding house someday.”  On the other hand, Ángel Mombiedro prefers mobile phones as “they all look the same now” and Ian Cochran notes he would choose a mirror.

  4. When we asked the group to finish this question, “Design should…,” everyone had something a little different to say. Simon Schmitz thinks design should “dare,” while Joel Booy believes it should “strive to have worthy aims and then attempt to meet them.” Offering other perspectives, Nicki Shen states design should “be thoughtful and functional,” and Stein Wang notes it should also be able to “withstand the scrutiny of being questioned ‘why.'”

  5. Fact: Over half of the designers (56%) work best with music, while a third of those remaining prefer silence.

  6. Fact: Two thirds of this year’s Dwell 24 would classify their studio as a “hive of productive clutter.”

  7. Fact: Most of this year’s group (48%) do their best work in the morning, while hardly any (11%) get anything done in the afternoon.

  8. Fact: When it comes to Instagram, most of the designers see it as a promotional tool and almost none (4%) avoid the social media service all together.

  9. Lastly, we all procrastinate, but what about this year’s Dwell 24? Well, Simon Schmitz states that he does it “with the help of the Internet,” while Paola Sakr admits she procrastinates “often and needlessly.” Mark Grattan responds with a clarifying question: “you mean, what isInstagram?” Topher Kong seems one step ahead as he says, “my zodiac sign isSagittarius, so procrastination isn’t apart of me.” Lastly, Urvi Sharma notes she just gets other things done: “I meticulously organize everything around me or start rearranging the furniture in my house.”

To learn more about each of the designers and their backgrounds, visit the Dwell 24 homepage.

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