Editor's Letter: Design Matters
Temples of expensive belongings, displayed just so, are the stuff of other magazines. Here, we want to show unexpected creativity in difficult circumstances. We want to have a conversation about what "good design" means in a world we all recognize. This is not a primer for buying a look.
We need smart people who rise to the challenge of negating the mundane and the absurd. Architects, designers, and makers who question how things should be done, or have always been done. Sōetsu Yanagi, the founder of the folk movement in Japan, said that art is more beautiful when it suggests something deeper, something beyond its appearance.
In the March / April 2017 issue, we feature a 92-year-old Frenchman who lives in a quarry with his collection of curios and vintage cars. No "modern" furniture, no sweeping vistas, no clean lines. Just a singular home that he made for himself, calibrated exactly to the life he wants, in an unlikely setting.
In that same line of thinking, of pondering the peculiar and examining how moving eccentricity can be, consider a 19th-century house outside of Copenhagen built by a Norwegian carpenter whom no one remembers, filled with inherited taxidermy and ultra-modern furnishings. Or a seriously tiny backyard getaway where a 12-year-old does her homework and her dad, an architect, sketches every evening, in a family space they built together.
We are troubled by the issues that plague our culture, and we want to be uplifted by people who employ "good design" to resist absolutes. There’s a museum in Washington, D.C., that has risen, despite decades of bureaucratic snarls, to stand in aesthetic contrast to the other structures that came before it. An architect on Long Island devised a resilient home that can protect against storms and sea surges. Curators in Rotterdam are confronting the dark implications of technology and asking important questions about what it truly means when power and consumer acceptance collide. We are proud to shine a light on these kinds of people and projects.
We need impactful design in this imperfect world.