Welcome to our annual Global Interiors Issue! Here we celebrate six territories where new creative talents have caught our eye – Chile, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain and the United States – while dedicating a 48-page special to Germany, a design powerhouse that continues to lead the way, a century after the founding of the Bauhaus.
We also highlight two artists as they embrace the world of furniture and design. First, Tom Sachs graces our newsstand cover with his ecliptic ‘Shop’ chair, named after the chair that a carpenter makes for their shop. Tom’s impressive attention to detail has translated beautifully to furniture-making, informing every element down to the double-corrugated, double-layered cardboard packaging with fibreglass-reinforced paper tape. Meanwhile, Seulgi Lee has followed a collaboration with Hermès with a colourblocked rug for Ikea, a lamp for Paris art and design collective We Do Not Work Alone, and provides this month’s limited-edition subscribers’ cover.
Combining choreography and chairs, our fashion story puts on a performance, while our mirrored-box space shoot brings even more spectacle – it took Wallpaper* interiors stylist Matthew Morris and photographer Thomas Brown four scissor lifts, one giant projector and myriad mirrors to create the earth-shaking story inspired by the forces of nature.
Back to London and I recently had the pleasure of spending a morning in Paul Smith’s office going through his amazing archive of 1960s design magazines (my idea of a perfect day!). I came across a beautiful advert from 1965, for the International Design Conference in Aspen, with artwork by the legendary John Massey. The conference, founded by Chicago businessman Walter Paepcke after his discovery that modern design could make business more profitable, was chaired that year by George Nelson. It was devoted to the relationship between design and commerce, and its manifesto, titled ‘The New World’, remains prescient 54 years on: ‘The end of the world as we know it is being brought about by an extraordinary pile-up of changes in scale, speed, technique, conduct and motivation. Contradictions in the emerging new world will be investigated: our growing inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, while technology rules human endeavours; the conflict between technique and content; our increasing visual sensitivity in a world filled with man-made ugliness.’
This leads us to our annual Brainstorm Design conference with Fortune magazine (Singapore, 5-7 March), which explores how the world’s leading businesses are realising the transformative, and profit-pushing, power of design. Similarly, McKinsey Design’s recent report ‘The Business Value of Design’ found that companies which make good design integral to everything they do increase their revenues at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts. ‘Design is more than a feeling: it is a CEO-level priority for growth and long-term performance,’ it concludes. As creators, consumers and connoisseurs of good design, I think we can all agree with that. Enjoy the issue!