Let­ter from the Ed­i­tor

Azure - - CONTENTS - Dear reader,

In 2005, Bri­tish ath­lete Ellen Macarthur broke the speed record for sail­ing around the world solo.

She re­tired in 2010, at age 34, and moved on to her next pas­sion: es­tab­lish­ing a foun­da­tion for pro­mot­ing cir­cu­lar economies. Cir­cu­lar econ­omy is not a term Macarthur coined. Its ori­gin isn’t known, but the ex­pres­sion has be­come a catch-all for the many ways sus­tain­abil­ity has been de­scribed and un­der­stood over the years. It em­braces ev­ery­thing from cra­dle to cra­dle and biomimicry to the blue econ­omy and de­gen­er­a­tive de­sign – es­sen­tially, all the ter­mi­nol­ogy that says we should be do­ing things dif­fer­ently than what we are do­ing now. Rather than make stuff and throw it all back into our al­ready-pol­luted oceans and burn­ing land­fills, we should be build­ing busi­nesses that re­duce and re­cy­cle. The point of Macarthur’s foun­da­tion is to ex­pe­dite that think­ing to the cor­po­rate re­al­ity and her part­ners in­clude such mega-giants as Google, H&M, Philips and Unilever.

Of course, de­sign­ers have val­ued sus­tain­abil­ity for decades. What Azure’s ed­i­tors and con­trib­u­tors have no­ticed re­cently – while vis­it­ing fur­ni­ture fairs around the globe, talk­ing to prac­ti­tion­ers, and hand­ing out AZ Awards that cel­e­brate so­cial good and en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship – is the mo­men­tum. Go­ing green is now the norm, and the do­main of some of the most in­flu­en­tial lead­ers in the world, in­clud­ing Elon Musk, Stella Mccart­ney, and Ikea. It is also ap­pear­ing with the rise of in­ter­est in such en­vi­ron­men­tally savvy ar­chi­tects as Eco­log­ic­stu­dio in Lon­don, de­sign­ers of al­gae-based en­ergy sys­tems; Kengo Kuma in Tokyo, whose pre­ferred ma­te­rial is wood; and Stu­dio Swine of Lon­don, which bases its prac­tice on find­ing eco­log­i­cal ma­te­rial al­ter­na­tives, such as turn­ing hu­man hair into a fin­ish that em­u­lates tor­toise shell, or a chair made from Ebonite, a sus­tain­able rub­ber from the Ama­zon.

It has been a long­stand­ing tra­di­tion for our Oc­to­ber is­sue to point to the prod­ucts, ma­te­ri­als, ideas and projects that are poised to de­fine the year ahead. This year, our forecast en­com­passes one idea that per­me­ates all de­sign chan­nels: the move to­wards max­i­miz­ing to min­i­mize.

Viride, by Barcelona's Goula/figuera, is a pro­to­type that brings to­gether in one ob­ject grow lights, in­te­rior light­ing, wa­ter hy­dra­tion and veg­e­ta­tion.

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