I'm a big fan of the colorful Italian furniture manufacturer Kartell. Hard-edged design concepts combined with cheap, but very high-tech industrial production skills.
I also like the manifesto character of Katell statements like this: "We are lauching ourselves into that experimentation, always projected towards the future, that is our work. It is then an experiment in design, in it's most complete meaning, and it is intended to reach that difficult synthesis between technology and design, between economy and the response to a social demand."
Coming from a modernist design-nation like Denmark, with very a strong and conservative binding to quality craftmanship, expensive raw material, and seriousness (plus very high, almost absurd, price levels), the pragmatic Kartell-attitude to design is refreshing.
The new issue of Metropolis Magazine has an article on Kartell's move into the US market.