Let­ter from the Editor

Azure - - CONTENTS -

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

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