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SAMUEL WILKINSON

A high-achiever in science and math, Englishman Samuel Wilkinson didn’t seem a likely candidate for a design career as a student growing up in Devon. “In art I got a D, so technically I didn’t even pass,” he says. But it all clicked during an internship with an architect when he discovered computer-aided design. After getting a degree from London’s Ravensbourne College of Art & Design and working for several leading firms, he put his own studio on the map with the Plumen 001. The breakthrough design for a low-energy light bulb won the London Design Museum Design of the Year award among other accolades. Current furniture and lighting projects include a19-foot-tall solar tree which one day might power a city. And he happily says he’s only just getting started. “You’re a ‘young designer’ until you’re in your fifties.”