Letter from the Editor
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.