Creativity is a heady word. It speaks in extremes – flashes of inspiration, long nights of the soul, solitary days spent communing with nature – and is regarded with an almost spiritual awe. In this issue, we take the opportunity to go behind the scenes in the studios and workplaces of some of the dominant figures in design and architecture today. The realities of creation, we discover, are considerably more rigorous than such clichés might suggest, yet are also far more interesting, diverse and thought-provoking.
Many of the designers we visited were in the midst of finalising new products for April’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, providing the perfect opportunity to see their creative processes in action. We joined David Adjaye as he flew into Udine in north-eastern Italy to assess progress on his Double Zero furniture range for Moroso, and dropped in on the straight-talking Inga Sempé in her new Paris studio as she put finishing touches to fabrics for Golran and a furniture collection for Ligne Roset.
Michael Young’s Hong Kong atelier is a far cry from his days as the wild child of Space Studio, but our meeting in Sheung Wan provided eloquent testament to his continued devotion to experimentation. And a visit to Iittala’s glass factory in Hämeenlinna, where a new collection by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec is underway, revealed that, even in this antique industry, close collaboration between designers and makers can ensure innovative results.
Perhaps the biggest name of all, however, is Frank Gehry. Buoyed by public acclaim for his new building at Sydney’s University of Technology, he gave a candid yet playful interview to Edwin Heathcote about his past, present and passion for ice hockey. Creativity may be hazy and hyped, but it also inspires pleasure, admiration and curiosity – we hope this issue provides some insights as to its many sources.
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IN THIS ISSUE
Frank Gehry The 86-year-old architect on egotism and art
Inga Sempé From her Paris studio, Sempé gives the honest truth on what it takes to survive as a designer
Iittala Behind the scenes with the Finnish glass masters
Michael Young How a move to Hong Kong revived a sense of experimentation in British design’s enfant terrible
Hackney studios Jenny Lewis portrays creative life in East London
David Adjaye Ahead of the Milan Furniture Fair, the architect inspects his latest creation at the Moroso factory
A vertical forest in Milan by Stefano Boeri, the Bouroullecs’ font-inspired chair for Vitra, Barkow Leibinger’s academic pavilion in Berlin, Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery reinvented by MUMA, previews of the Milan Furniture Fair and Clerkenwell Design Week, news from Cape Town’s Design Indaba, and Marten Baas in an Amsterdam shop window
Reviews Finnish postmodernism, Soane’s clients, Cuban autos and British identity through art and design
Private View Charles Pétillon