Fifty Under Fifty

Words: Kat Chaousis Words: Kat Chaousis
Review: Kat Chaousis

This book is a celebration of sorts, an acknowledgement and an accolade toa group of top fifty designers under the age of fifty, who have made a remarkable contribution in the design space during the 21st century. It is a noteworthy volume of work and there is no question as to why each of these designers made the cut. The mentioned designers are outstanding, both in their craft and their conscious. Their dedication in considering the harmony between the environment and ethos, and the functional with the philosophical is evident within the text: “a forward-thinking generation of creative people, aware of global issues that urgently need solutions through imaginative design.”

Curated by Beverly Russell, Eva L. Maddox and Farooq Ameen, they present the conclusions of a distinguished panel of judges who gathered to identify and celebrate these leading contributors and their firms. Present on the five-person jury was Stanley Tigerman, founding partner, Tiger McCurry, Chicago; Ralph Johnson, design principal, Perkins+Will, Chicago; Jeanne Gang, founder Gang Studio, Chicago; Marion Weiss, founding partner, Weiss Manfredi, New York; and Qingyun Ma, Dean of Architecture, University of Southern California, and founder MADAs.p.a.m., Shanghai and Beijing.
As with the flavours of diversity noted amongst the panel members, this body of
work depicts a global snapshot of talents featuring firms from Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain,
Sri-Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.
British-American author, educator and editor, Beverly Russell opens this collection by
acknowledging that “the firms featured here exhibit passion for the planet, concern for

the future and joyful satisfaction in creating spaces that respond to humanistic realities: schools, medical clinics, integrated agriculture opportunities, sustainable low cost housing and affordable effective transportation.” In the business of innovation in the 21st century,  these aforementioned distinctives aid a creative momentum, necessary to operate within the climate of an ever-expanding global population, which is approaching 7.5 billion people – one third of whom live in poverty.

The innovators of our time are those who are seeking urgent solutions to the ever-changing humanitarian and environmental landscape. While Eva L. Maddox notes the distinctions in identifying design innovation for 2015 in her preface, Maddox describes the highly accomplished group of fifty under fifty innovators as possessors of certain characteristics that enable “purposeful value, multidiscipline achievements, global sharing and no boundaries,” which translates into “working differently [and] spurring innovation and economic development.”

Each of the firms and designers featured in the book are documented through full colour photography across 352 glossy pages with detailed designs and enriched by narrative, which dictates the passion behind the planning, process and purpose of each completed project. Readers are offered a unique insight into the designers’ ethical drive, environmental considerations and brave steps towards creating meaningful solutions for varied populations.


This publication is indeed an inspiring body of work where celebrating these
top fifty designers under fifty encourages emerging creatives to be inspired by the bold
achievements of those that have gone before them and opens up the opportunity to further grasp who they are, not just what they do. For the seasoned designer, may this collection serve to energise and evoke fresh practices and perspectives in your own craft and contributions to this space.
Fifty Under Fifty
By Beverly Russell, Eva L Maddox and Farooq Ameen
RRP: $72.85
Published by the Images Publishing Group