Special feature: design
by celebrities

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Special feature: design by celebrities

Kanye West was in the news last week for venting his creative frustration, but he isn't the only celebrity who wants to be a designer - Pharrell Williams, Brad Pitt, Vanilla Ice and even Buzz Aldrin have had a go at furniture and lighting. With varying degrees of success...

In an interview that was meant to be about his latest album with DJ Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1, West revealed he wants to design everything from water bottles to architecture and claimed to be "working with five architects at a time" to learn their craft.

Air Yeezy trainers by Kanye West for Nike
Air Yeezy trainers by Kanye West for Nike

He has already designed a line of high-top trainers for Nike and shown his womenswear collections at Paris Fashion Week.

West announced plans to start his own design company DONDA last year, and hoped to enlist a number of designers and architects to join him. In 2007 he commissioned architect Claudio Silvestrin to design his New York apartment.

The Tank chair by Pharrell Williams
The Tank chair by Pharrell Williams

Other famous faces branching into design include vocalist and producer Pharrell Williams, who designed a chair with transparent plastic caterpillar tracks for legs.

Vanilla Ice designs lighting collection
Vanilla Ice designs lighting collection

Rapper Vanilla Ice launched a collection of chandeliers and wall lamps earlier this year.

We've also featured a movie in which rapper Ice Cube, who previously trained as an architectural draftsman, explains his love of architecture and how he's inspired by the work of renowned architects Charles and Ray Eames.

Pitt-Pollaro furniture collection by Brad Pitt
Pitt-Pollaro furniture collection by Brad Pitt

Away from music, actor Brad Pitt has created a range of furniture that features a dozen pieces including a bed, tables, chairs and a marble bathtub for two.

Duplex by Frank Gehry for Brad Pitt's Make it Right charity
Duplex by Frank Gehry for Brad Pitt's Make it Right charity

Pitt has also dabbled in architecture. His charity Make It Right signed up a series of architects including Frank Gehry, Morphosis and MVRDV to help provide solutions to the housing crisis created in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2008.

Kate Winslet designs for Habitat
Kate Winslet designs for Habitat

Titanic actress Kate Winslet and Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe are among Hollywood stars who have designed products for British brand Habitat.

Astronaut designs moon-shaped lamp
Astronaut designs moon-shaped lamp

Second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin created a lunar-inspired pendant lamp for the brand as well.

Special feature: design by celebrities
Moby launches architecture blog

Finally, technology firm Blackberry named singer Alicia Keys as its creative director earlier this year while musician Moby began an architecture blog to post his photos and musings on the subject in 2012 - see it here.

We've also featured a roundup of architects who've tried their hand at designing shoes, which includes footwear by Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel and Oscar Niemeyer.

  • Catherine Millington

    I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if Miley Cyrus were to announce a launch for an aero-space engineering and design firm next year, followed by Justin Bieber…

  • http://www.elmanco.com/ Stefano Ricci

    You forgot Lenny Kravitz…

  • Andrew

    With varying degrees of success? I think it’s more like varying degrees of failure…

  • Luis Rodriguez

    The rules for design have changed. No longer are we bounded by our ideas in search for new clients. Today our client is not only the person of interest, but the designer as well. Money is starting to create an evolution of new design who have no educational background or expertise on the subject.

    As designers today, we are no longer competing against other design but against out client with a lot of finance and very little design sense.

  • bonsaiman

    Let’s pray Nicki Minaj will not jump in the bandwagon.

  • Guest

    If I knew I could release over-produced music and become a designer 8 years ago, I never would have gone through 5 years of higher education.