Roses are red, violets are blue, and our hearts are glowing green for these 13 eco-conscious designers, architects and visionaries we can't stop crushing on! Though we're far from shy when it comes to doling out the design love every other day of the year, we figured Valentine's Day would be the perfect time to send a little extra something to those who have really made our hearts flutter lately. Keep reading to find out who our writers and editors have gone ga-ga over, and if you want to send a "love note" to a design crush of your own, tell them in the comments below!
Roses are red, Shigeru is the man.
We love cardboard architecture & we love Shigeru Ban!
Forget Bieber, Gosling and Pitt. When it comes to our crushes, we’re absolutely BANanas for architect Shigeru Ban. Known for working architectural magic by creating sturdy structures out of previously unimaginable materials like paper and cardboard, Ban continues to blow us away with his strength of imagination and engineering prowess. His temporary and permanent structures – like this housing for victims of the Japan tsunami and this paper concert hall in Italy – help people while pushing the boundaries of sustainable design.
Oh First Lady, where do we begin? Your toned arms, your sense of fashion or your dedication to this country. We’re delighted with the White House organic garden you started and all the effort you’ve made to encourage healthier foods in this country. Getting kids moving and exercising is a cause we can rally behind and we can’t wait to see the things you’ll accomplish in these next four years.
You blew our minds with your Seed Cathedral, a giant pincusion harboring thousands of seeds at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Then you went and made London’s classic red double-decker bus more energy efficient. And then you wowed us with your nature-inspired Olympic Cauldron. Whether its your amazing architecture, design, or your adorable curls, you’ve got us hooked Mr. Heatherwick.
The first woman to ever be appointed Director of Architecture for the Venice Biennale, Kazuyo Sejima is a design force to be reckoned with. The SANAA principal is no slouch when it comes to her architectural designs either. Her slick and clean forms have won her (and her partner Ryue Nishizawa) architecture’s coveted Pritzker prize, plenty of accolades, and above all, a place in our architecture-lovin’ hearts.
Kengo Kuma, whether you build with aluminum or wood, your work always has a story and for this we love you truly. From art museums and humble homes to Suntory’s offices and even an observatory, everything you do is studded with star power that sends our big green hearts aflutter.
Will you be our Valentine?
With his immaculately coiffed ‘do, perfectly knotted bowties and devotion to standing up for animal rights, we can’t help but think that this vegan and editor-in-chief is quite the “katch”. His website may be called The Discerning Brute, but Joshua Katcher’s live and let live philosophy and humanitarian ethos are civilized way beyond his time. This Brave Gentleman has long been a champion for anti-cruelty style, so it makes sense that his dashing clothing line of the same name uses no animal products and spreads awareness that a man can look just as handsome and classic without wearing leather. Oh, and did we mention that the boy can cook? Check out all of his scrumptious vegan and vegetarian recipes here and then peep some more eye candy of Joshua here for dessert.
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart
We’re sweet on Leanne Mai-Ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture because she shows the world how compassion can be fashionable. This inspiring vegan clothing designer recently launched the first ever vegan ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week, showcasing chic jackets, cute dresses and menswear made entirely out of cruelty-free textiles. The models even walked the runway carrying adorable Humane Society puppies up for adoption! It doesn’t hurt that this former model with a bubbly personality is also adorable!
Behind his tousled curls and good looks, Pepe Heykoop is an inventive designer with a heart of gold. His gorgeous furniture made from upcycled remnant materials, sustainable bamboo lampshades and paper vases come to fruition with the help of Tiny Miracles, a foundation he set up to help kids and women in Mumbai make a living, while creating his innovative designs. Gorgeous and giving, Pepe Heykoop is definitely crush worthy.
Flora Grubb, how does your garden grow? With succulents and cork and tin and rusty cars all in a row. Gardening has never been so much fun and we thank you for bringing the sexy back. Your garden and store in San Fran is a wonder to behold and we would like to live there. Forever.
For diehard minimalists, it’s impossible not to fall in love with pretty much anything industrial designer Jonas Damon puts his stamp on. Currently a creative director at Frog Design, he continues designing for retail as well–his 2012 Trestle lamp for Roll and Hill was one of the big hits at last year’s ICFF. From his range of clocks, cups, i-accessories and brilliantly multipurpose cork blocks for Areaware to the sleek and functional desks he designed for the Seattle Public Library, his work blares his passion for the less-is-more doctrine from every angle.
Working in media ranging from lighting to interiors to furniture with her own simple-yet-feminine sensibility, Danish designer Louise Campbell has been capturing design hearts far beyond Scandinavia. Her Papercut pendant lamps made a splash in Milan last year, while Stateside, her More the Merrier candelabrum has been a longtime hit at DWR–and her Elements series for Royal Copenhagen, a minimal take on your grandma’s best china, is in stock at design shops all across the globe.
Travis, Stewart and Kohl of Krochet Kids
Who wouldn’t crush on a man that crochets? The founders behind Krochet Kids International, Kohl, Stewart and Travis, starting crocheting in high school, but then after going to college and travelling the world, they decided to start a company. Though their super rad and cozy hats, tees and accessories for men and women are enough to swoon over, the story behind the product is the best part. KKi hats are made by women in Northern Uganda and Peru who are given a stable income to provide for their families and also help them build a foundation for a career. Inside each KKi hat is the name of the wonderful lady that made it; you can even look her up on their website and thank her! At the tail-end of 2012, KKi won Chase Bank’s American Giving Awards and was awarded a $500k grant which they plan to use to start a KKi program here in the USA.