Letter from the Editor
Many architects and designers like to think of themselves as lone wolves, operating according to their own creative impulses. But the fact is, no one works in a vacuum, especially in today’s super-connected world. Whether historic or contemporary, influences are rife, filtering through far-flung furniture fairs, arresting global projects and media of all types into the minds and the work of creatives everywhere, even if only subliminally. To consciously ignore what’s going on in the industry and in the zeitgeist is to be willfully blind to prevailing trends both good and bad.
The inherent value of identifying and interpreting trends is why Azure dedicates at least one issue annually to the looks, materials, processes and themes that promise to influence design professionals in the year ahead. Whether you consequently love or deplore the exaggerated volumes, soft-edged furnishings or fluid new uses for metal mesh explored in this issue’s trends package (starting on page 054), it’s beneficial to know about them, where and how they’re being applied and whether or not they’ll have legs (short answer: they will).
The usefulness of trend watching was reconfirmed for me over coffee in Toronto not long ago with Dutch architect Winy Maas, who was in Canada, in part, to deliver an Azure-sponsored lecture on what’s new and next in urbanism. The subject is a primary focus of Maas’s internationally acclaimed practice and of the think tank he directs at TU Delft, called The Why Factory. In Maas’s view, architectural originality is overrated because, on the whole, the best work builds on past successes and the best practitioners are open to observing and adapting what has come before them and what’s going on around them now.
As it turns out, many of you are doing exactly that. When Azure informally canvassed our professional readers for the trends they see on the horizon, the response was enthusiastic. “Architecture and design,” declared Duccio Grassi, founder and CEO of Duccio Grassi Architects, “will continue to be inspired by contemporary visual art incorporating a greater freedom of building language, even using anti-modernist archetypes such as the arch.” According to product and interior designer Kelly Harris Smith, meanwhile, “a handcrafted/ handmade approach will mix with new technologies. Expect block printing with new-frontier 3D printing and all the combinations of capabilities imaginable.”
We also think you’ll be taken with that unusually fluid metal mesh mentioned above. Some designers really are doing marvellous things with it.
Danny Sinopoli, Editor