Julie Ho and Nick Andersen in their Manhattan studio, which they share with the graphic designer Alex Lin. On the fourth floor is New York's only veterinary dermatologist, which is "why you see all the weird-looking dogs in the lobby," they joke. Behind them is one of their large party garlands, a design they originally developed for their very first project, the Spring '09 United Bamboo fashion show and lookbook.

Confetti System, Decoration Designers

Between the two of them, Julie Ho and Nicholas Andersen had designed clothing, jewelry, movie sets, music videos, and Martha Stewart shoots, plus dabbled in painting, drawing, pattern-making, sewing, and crocheting before teaming up creatively in 2008. Ho had even been a studio assistant for Tom Sachs, making foam Hello Kittys with a medical scalpel (and slicing open her hands almost weekly in the process). So it took a particular kind of alchemy for the pair to decide that — out of all their talents and interests — they would devote their days to making paper party decorations, the kind you'd expect to find in a dollar store.
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Rodrigo Almeida's new collection — built by hand in his São Paulo studio — includes the Concreta chair shown here. It's made from wood and rope, with sparkly plastic cushions. Color is a huge element of Almeida's work. "When I walk in Brazil, the greens are so strong, sky is so blue — it’s different," he says. "I lived for a few years in the U.S., and while the flowers are more beautiful, the green is more like gray. So you get a spot of color, but not blocks of color like in Brazil. These are the kinds of things you internalize as a designer."

Rodrigo Almeida, Furniture Designer

To any reader who went to design school and is, years later, still making student loan payments month after month, you might want to close your eyes for this one: Rodrigo Almeida — the 34-year-old Brazilian furniture designer who's pals with the Campana brothers, has been featured in Wallpaper, and has made pieces for top galleries like Contrasts and FAT — didn't go to university, not even as an undergrad. What you're looking at here is raw talent, and a career that began when Almeida simply picked up the Brazilian magazine Arc Design six years ago and thought, "I want to do that."
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Lineaus Hooper Lorette in his Ft. Davis workshop, just outside Marfa, Texas. The front of the studio is where he makes Lineaus Athletic Company balls, bars, and bags, while the back — a weight room — is where he uses them. He's sold medicine balls to nearly every national football championship team. "You're looking at the world's best," he says. "No one puts the investment into making them that I do."

Lineaus Athletic Company

Lineaus Hooper Lorette makes $650 leather medicine balls in a workshop just outside the desert art mecca of Marfa, Texas. He sells the balls to college athletic departments and "very rich men," many of whom admire them for their old-school charm. (Mick Jagger once bought four.) But Lorette isn't a hipster, nor is he an artist.
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Heer handcrafts his Rosshaar ("horsehair" in German) mattresses to order in his studio in the Kreutzberg neighborhood of Berlin. While his grandfather and great-grandfather had to fill each mattress order in one day because their clients usually had nowhere else to sleep, Heer's standard fabrication time is two days. He does everything himself, from start to finish.

The Rosshaar Mattress by Daniel Heer

From birth, Daniel Heer was groomed to take over his family's leather- and mattress-making business. He learned the necessary skills early on, honing them through an adolescence spent at the Heer workshop in Lucerne, Switzerland, watching his father and grandfather work. His post-secondary education focused on one thing and one thing only: how to ply his trade. And then when he moved to Berlin at age 20, he left it all behind.
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Nacho Carbonell, Designer

It’s half past eight on a Wednesday evening, and in the kitchen of the Pastoor Van Ars church, a few miles from Eindhoven’s prestigious Design Academy, a long table has been set with two propane gas burners. Normally, the burners here are used to boil massive amounts of newspaper into pulp bound for the cocoon-like structures of Nacho Carbonell’s Evolution collection. But tonight the Spanish-born designer has hijacked the flames to fry up two huge paellas: chicken and pancetta for the meat-eaters, eggplant and artichokes for the vegetarians.
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