Aakriti Kumar, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Aakriti Kumar
Founder, Differniture, New Delhi

Aakriti Kumar places great importance on how the birth of her creations will impact the world today and in the future, an environmentally conscious approach that first took root as a student at Parsons School of Design. Embracing an alternative and sustainable approach to design, her furniture atelier Differniture is driven by the premise to merge the sculptural integrity of art with the functional values of design into sustainably produced products.

Kumar sources wood from reclaimed shipping containers, and salvages old floorboards as well as trees that have fallen in storms (rather than cutting them down) for her creations. She uses natural oil finishes and waxes, steering clear of toxic finishes, and believes in a zero/minimal waste in her design processes.

Daisuke Kitagawa, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Daisuke Kitagawa
Founder, Design for Industry, Tokyo

Born in Shiga, Japan, Daisuke Kitagawa graduated from the Kanazawa College of Art, then worked as an in-house designer at NEC design. In 2011, he started operating under the name Daisuke Kitagawa Design, and in 2015, he left NEC to found the Design For Industry studio. At the same time, he began lecturing at the Kanazawa College of Art.

Daisuke devotes himself to creating things with meticulous attention to detail, in close collaboration with all the people who conceive, make and sell them.

He was selected as one of the 15 most exciting new designers at Salone 2016 by The New York Times and received the iF design award 2017 for several product designs: Nod (lighting), Pond (candle holder) and Trifle (side table).

Hon Hew Fung, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Hon Hew Fung
Co-founder, Wowow Studio, Hong Kong

A graduate of the University of Hong Kong, Hon Hew Fung is co-founder of Wowow Studio, which specialises in furniture design, spatial art, architecture and urbanism.

Hon’s objective is to bring happiness to people via design with a humanistic approach that emphasises spiritual satisfaction. Hon’s Hugging Bench, for example, explores how motion brings happiness and intimacy. Other standout designs include walking-cum-drawing space, Drawing Loop and the Wherever Window, which explores how diverted light allows people to see through walls.

Wowow’s ongoing development, Door Furniture is a multifunctional door space that can be transformed into a chair, bed, table or even a play tent. It was successfully patented as a worldwide invention and funded by the ITC Patent Application Grant.

Wong Man Hon, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Wong Man Hon
Co-founder, Takon Product Development Ltd and POSTalk, Hong Kong

Wong Man Hon believes that the design of a product, its aesthetics and presentation are inseparable; he is interested in exploring how the worlds of design, arts and culture collide. After graduating from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Product Analysis and Design, Wong worked as a graphic, product and interior designer. In 2011, he co-founded Takon and developed the brand POSTalk, which includes intricately carved paper art cards that incorporate elements of Hong Kong culture, such as junks, sampans and trams.

Wong has also collaborated with wineries, hotels and watch brands for cross-over projects. His works have been exhibited in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and the United States.

Minnie Jan, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Minnie Jan
Co-founder, MisoSoupDesign, Taipei

Co-founder of MisoSoupDesign, Minnie Jan is a graduate of the University of Southern California and obtained her masters from Columbia University. She was a designer at FXFOWLE Architects in New York for three years, where she concentrated on sustainable building development, working on projects in Dubai, India and Saudi Arabia.

The Taipei-based design studio handles architecture, interior, furniture/product and corporate branding commissions. It incorporates new ideas with digital tectonics, sustainable technologies, and applies a systematic way of thinking in design, hoping to discover the moment when form meets function. Standout products include its Spiral Stool, a sturdy flat pack stool made from 100-percent recycled cardboard that won the Platinum A’Design award in furniture last year.

Ryan Yeung, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Ryan Yeung
Product designer, Tektos Limited, Hong Kong

Hong Kong designer Ryan Yeung has worked on a wide range of products from homeware to Internet of Things devices. A graduate of the Hong Kong Design Institute, he worked for Innopak before joining Japan’s BALS Corporation in 2011, designing tableware, cutlery, tools and fabric items. Yeung then did a stint at Bergner, a global supplier of household products including pots, pans and casserole dishes.

In 2015, Yeung joined his current company, Tektos Ecosystems, which designs, develops and manufactures consumer goods such as health trackers, wireless chargers and humidity sensors for international brands. Yeung’s work has garnered global attention, and he recently scooped the bronze A’ Design Award in Italy for the AirComfort temperature and humidity sensor.

Yang Yide, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Yang Yide
Design director, Mr Sheep, Hong Kong

With 10 years’ experience in the industrial design field, Yang Yide has turned his hand to appliances, furniture, vehicle and packaging, among other products. He fell in love with the fusion of traditional craft skills and new technology and started to blend Oriental culture into designs such as his paper shade series, which met with huge success in Europe and Japan. But after visiting Salone in 2014, he switched his attention to making educational products, including craft toy Pazo, a puzzle featuring a series of circular shapes that can be fashioned to build everything from soccer balls to skyscrapers. Suitable for all ages, this interactive item sharpens logical thinking and was a Red Dot Design Award winner in 2016, as well as being recognised at the A’Design awards.

Yota Kakuda, Product Design, 40 under 40 2017
Yota Kakuda
Yota Kakuda Design, Tokyo

Yota Kakuda moved to London in 2003, where he worked at design studios including Shin Azumi and Ross Lovegrove, and also studied for an MA at the Royal College of Art. The designer returned to Tokyo in 2008 and joined Muji as a product designer. Three years later, he established Yota Kakuda Design in the Japanese capital, working in a variety of design fields for both international and domestic clients. He has received several major design accolades including the iF Design Award and Good Design Award, and was selected as one of the finalists for the Hublot Design Prize in 2016, becoming the first ever nominee from Asia. Yota is also a lecturer at Musashino Art University