We have lift-off
On a sultry Shoreditch evening during London Design Week, I had the honour of introducing a conversation between Richard Rogers and his son Roo. I opened by telling the crowd at Second Home about an architecture documentary series that BBC2 ran in the mid-1980s, scheduled just before the sizzling banter of Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting. The series, of course, talked to and about Rogers – then un-lorded but post-pompidou and the Lloyd’s building, eloquent in his hard-to-place accent, and strikingly handsome in a collarless shirt that may have been fuchsia or Yves Klein blue. I was watching on my black-and-white bedroom telly, so I’m making assumptions in post. Rogers immediately joined Jack Kerouac and Barney from New Order in my mixed bag of male role models.
None of this had anything to do with the topic under discussion that evening. Richard and Roo were there to tackle what it means to design for a better world. In many ways, they represent different approaches from different centuries. Richard gave startling new form to modernist idealism. Roo, a writer and documentary maker who did a stint with Yves Béhar at Fuseproject, is now what you might call a progressive accelerator. His Founders Factory Africa is about to set up office in Johannesburg, aiming to help establish 100 start-ups across the contintent. Rogers junior is as passionate, insightful and eloquent a speaker as his father, and I recommend listening to their conversation on Soundcloud (soundcloud. com/secondhomeldn). You can skip my bumbling reminiscences at the beginning.
Designing for a better world has been a constant concern for this magazine and we have been working towards lift-off on a project that will take that mission to a whole new level. Read about the Wallpaper* Moonshots Division on page 119. Elsewhere in the issue we tackle work, with our Officepaper* guide to well-designed and wellness-conscious spaces; rest, with a selection of remarkable retreats from Namibia to Bahrain; and creative play, which is one way to think about art. In our Smart Art section (see page 086), we try a few other ways of thinking about it, too.
A final note. Roo Rogers’ Wikipedia page says he has only worn red socks (though different pairs) since he was 11. A lesson in obsessive dedication and attention to detail we could all learn from.
The Wallpaper* Moonshots Division is set to reach for the skies. Our truly remarkable design lab is given a launch boost by Studio Swine and its smokefilled bubbles, page 119