Plying diverse looks and materials, these young designers are changing the way we sit in, lounge around, and light up our environments.

Miminat Shodeinde, a British-Nigerian architect and designer, has always been attracted, she says, “to curves, and anything that flows organically.” Her spaces are minimalist, and whatever she designs to furnish them “is defined by a refined but elegant rawness.” Her OMI D-3 chair and Howard desk sport incredibly fluid lines. Her Oscar chair and daybed have wavy legs. Even her mostly orthogonal Howard daybed features a rounded form that supports its head cushions. She describes her work as almost a contradiction of Brutalist yet feminine. Yet womanliness usually wins out. “There’s something innately sinuous and graceful in the female body,” she concedes, “and that sometimes consciously and subconsciously influences how I might design a piece.”

The founders of Brooklyn-based lighting company In Common With met at the Rhode Island School of Design, where they both went through “intense material-driven training.” After following different pursuits, Nick Ozemba and Felicia Hung reunited to create lighting that, not surprisingly, has a strong material presence based in traditional craft media like ceramic, glass, and metal. “In Common With has been built around a spirit of collaboration,” says Ozemba. “We love working with other makers who have expertise in a particular material and seeing how our respective backgrounds and influences can come together.” The Terra series, seen here, is their latest collaboration—this time with ceramicist Danny Kaplan. They’re also contributing lighting to the revamping of New York’s NoMad hotel, and this fall will open a Brooklyn showroom and production facility in Gowanus.

Juan José Nemer and Mauricio Álvarez were in their mid-20s when they established AD HOC Mexico, a company that collaborates with artisans throughout Mexico to make modern furniture inflected with a deep respect for their cultural heritage. “Inspiration,” says Álvarez, “at times comes from the work of an actual artisan, other times it is the material or craft technique, or some remembrance of our own.” The Roots collection incorporates fine woods and brush-like ixtle fiber elements. Huixcolotla’s open fretwork riffs on Mexican cut-paper designs and carved wooden hot chocolate whisks inspired the Antelmo series. Nothing is ever repeated. “We try to be open and not pigeonhole anything,” says Nemer, “so we can try what interests us and make something completely different each time. We like to think each piece has its own life and history.”

Geometry, balance, and sustainability (or instability) are foundational aspects of Arielle Assouline-Lichten’s designs. Her enviable training—studying, interning, or working for hallowed names in architecture: Toyo Ito, Bjarke Ingels, Kengo Kuma, Snøhetta—sets an elemental starting point for the geometric forms she uses in surprising ways. “I play with a heavy material to make it feel light, or I experiment with obfuscating which material is surpassing or dominating the other.” To wit: She uses sheets of marble to make box forms that she insets into other geometric volumes, tipping them precariously. This gives her furniture a sense of imminence. Are these blocks on the verge of tumbling to the ground? She salvages most marble from remnant piles and combines them, incongruously, with recycled rubber. “It’s interesting to elevate recycled rubber by juxtaposing it with a super-luxury material like marble that had also been discarded.” Indeed.

Born and raised in Beijing, Frank Chou has been making a splash in the design world, working to create a range of smart furnishings, including minimal designs that distill furniture forms down to a pure sense of line. His Signature Sofa and Armchair for Louis Vuitton’s Objet Nomades look like one continuous calligraphic brush stroke that loops first horizontally, then vertically. The Orbit Sofa for Frank Chou Collection marries an upholstered kidney bean–shaped base with a graceful arch of leather or fabric as a backrest. The collection’s aptly named Constant Side Table looks like a single rectangular line limned in space. Two marble discs interrupt the shape, offset from each other; one to stabilize and one to serve as surface. Most recently Chou was the only product designer (others were from the fields of literature, architecture, and art) selected by the studio of Tadao Ando to create Longquan celadon porcelain objects (a craft that flourished in China from 950 to 1550 C.E.) expressed in contemporary forms.