Let­ter from the Ed­i­tor

Azure - - DEPARTMENTS - Dear reader,

No­tice any­thing dif­fer­ent? We’ve been work­ing to­wards some big changes be­hind the scenes at Azure lately, and the is­sue you’re hold­ing is the first step of that re­vamp. Just over a year ago, we set out to re­think what a mag­a­zine should be in the age of hy­per-in­for­ma­tion. It’s a chal­leng­ing ques­tion, so to get a bet­ter sense of what read­ers want, we went into the field. We talked to you – ar­chi­tects, land­scape ar­chi­tects, prod­uct de­sign­ers and in­te­rior de­sign­ers – to get a deeper un­der­stand­ing of what is on the minds of in­dus­try in­sid­ers, and what you hope to find when you turn to us. For­tu­nately, you’re a talk­a­tive bunch. The in­sights you gave us were plen­ti­ful and rich. For one, you asked for more opin­ion, on what’s top­i­cal and press­ing. We are in an era of dis­rup­tion, you said, so let’s talk to one an­other about is­sues that mat­ter.

To in­tro­duce that dis­course we turned to award-win­ning writer Ni­cholas Hune-brown, who re­sponded with a fea­ture that dis­cusses the im­pact Richard Florida’s “cre­ative class” has had on cities, and how star­chi­tec­ture has in­ad­ver­tently ush­ered in so­cial and eco­nomic di­vides. We also in­vited L.A. writer Katya Tyle­vich to talk with Chicago ar­chi­tect Jeanne Gang on such ur­ban is­sues as the lone­li­ness epi­demic that is grow­ing ex­po­nen­tially in ur­ban cen­tres.

Your feed­back also led us to re­assess the look of our pages. Less stuff, you said, more sub­stance. The changes are subtle, but maybe you’ve al­ready no­ticed some of them. The most im­me­di­ate is our cover – we’ve di­alled down the noise to let thought-pro­vok­ing con­tent take the lead. In this is­sue, that means Carlo Ratti, one of the world’s most in­flu­en­tial thinkers in imag­in­ing what cities of the fu­ture will be like.

Re-en­gi­neer­ing doesn't hap­pen overnight; it’s a process that rolls out rather than ar­rives, so there is more to come. Be­hind the scenes, a lot has al­ready hap­pened. In par­tic­u­lar, we moved our of­fice to the west end of the city, to a neigh­bour­hood that is also evolv­ing, from a post-in­dus­trial area to a cul­ture com­mu­nity hub. We are now neigh­bours with ki­netic ar­chi­tect Philip Beesley (whose stu­dio is down the hall) and with the soon-to-open Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art (across the street).

Our new space – housed in a for­mer mu­ni­tions fac­tory – has high ceil­ings, squeaky wooden floors, and dou­ble-height win­dows. It also has a yet-to-be named “room” that can be used for, well, we’re not sure yet, but we fore­see it as an op­por­tu­nity to open it to the com­mu­nity by host­ing panel dis­cus­sions, guest speak­ers, wine-in­fused events and what­not. In the new me­dia land­scape, where dis­course is king, we are build­ing our soap­box, and the aim is to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to step up.

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