This magazine’s point is not to fetishize design, but to explore how and why it works.
When one learns to spot these things, it’s easier to understand how good design thinking is possible on any scale, on any budget, in any circumstance.
Most people don’t get the chance to walk a factory floor to see how an object is made. They don’t see iterations born from relentless research and development, versions pushed and pulled to find the elusive bridge between quality and cost. Very few do. This is the purpose of Dwell—to show the "try" behind the "do."
Take, for instance, the young couple who decided to leave Brooklyn after eight years of trying, and succeeding, to build careers in the design industry. Garnering bigger and bigger commissions and partnerships, they amassed their knowledge and then decamped for northwestern Arkansas. They bought a derelict seed factory and opened their own operation, making bespoke wallcoverings. Their young business is fulfilling orders from all over the world.
As a young man, Italian designer Michele De Lucchi lived with Ettore Sottsass, working with him day and night for almost a decade. Together they formulated the Memphis design movement. Today, in addition to having a successful architecture practice, De Lucchi finds great meaning in academia, challenging students’ perspectives of the world. It’s surprisingly pleasant to listen to a world-renowned designer talk about teaching courses with titles like "Aesthetic of Chaos" and "Aesthetic of Misery," because he does it to make a positive impact on impressionable minds. At the same time, he pursues his own larger questions about creating impactful design, using this potent learn-ing environment to help people who are suffering from debilitating diseases.
The lust to figure out how things work is a true gift of talent. A young man in San Francisco buys an apartment and, with advice from his carpenter father, transforms a raw, double-height industrial space into his best expression of home—flexible, ingenious creations solve problems; headboards dampen sound; cords are arranged into whimsical shapes on the wall. He pulls moments of beauty from nothing.
These are but a few of the lessons we gleaned from this issue. But some points remain true, no matter the month. Don’t buy something because it looks good in a photograph; test it first. Don’t waste time trying to have a perfect home—it doesn’t exist. Focus instead on finding and creating your own moments of beauty.
If you think the world doesn’t reveal enough of these things, you aren’t really searching. Look again.