Positioned between the duality of her Swiss and Guinean heritage, photographer Namsa Leuba’s work envisions ‘the representation of African identity through the Western imagination.’
Consumers are increasingly buying into the heritage of products as much as the pieces themselves, but we may not always be seeing the whole picture. Moroccan artisan weavers’ collective Anou offers a fresh alternative to traditional cultural clichés – and a challenge to vested market interests.
Nipa Doshi is showing me one of the pages from her most recent sketchbook, where a painstakingly gouache-rendered reproduction of a Picasso painting from this summer’s Tate Modern show is surrounded by pages of handwritten notes. Doshi, co-founder of design studio Doshi Levien, explains that, rather than simply taking a photo, she uses this process as a more active way of learning about colour mixing and composition. This analogue way of working and analysing feels like a largely forgotten skill in today’s fast-paced, digitally dominated world.
We are all familiar with the notion that recycling and upcycling are not only a sustainable way forward but also celebrate the previous life of materials – transforming them into new objects and giving them a new life. And just as repurposing determines the new iterations of materials and products, it also influences their colour – sparking a different way of thinking about colour and incorporating it into design.
Identity is one of the strongest creative inspirations across all fields – in particular fashion, which is perhaps one of the most experimental and rebellious of all. As identity becomes more fluid and hybridised, its influence becomes ever more potent. Today we can layer multiple identities to produce endlessly varied combinations; mash-ups that draw on a limitless mix of nuances affected by the culture, geography and gender of others as well as ourselves.
Despite skin being our largest and most sensitive organ, with touch often referred to as the ‘mother of the senses’, sight has been regarded as our predominant sense since the ancient Greeks. ‘The eyes are more exact witnesses than the ears,’ wrote Heraclitus; Plato thought vision was ‘humanity’s greatest gift’; while Aristotle claimed that sight ‘approximates the intellect most closely’.
As city living takes its toll on the mental wellbeing of young urbanites, and more people seek escape from their smartphones, a new wave of craft making experiences offers these consumers the ideal means of moderation.
With so many egregious offences against women coming to light across the film, art and publishing industries, one thing is for certain: women creators are no longer playing nice or staying quiet. In fact, they are rushing to fill the cultural vacuum left by their disgraced male predecessors with powerful work. More than ever, women are taking back their own images, stories and narratives in order to create impactful and nuanced work about women, by women. From top-grossing actresses publicly demanding equal pay to underground digital platforms that let women’s imaginations run wild, women are demanding to be heard and they are using the vehicles of art, design, film and media to do so.
Over-consumption of scarce resources is driving designers to reclaim materials from waste. As well as offering environmental benefits, these innovations signal a shift in our relationship with materials, away from a linear take-make-discard model to a more cyclical approach in which designers harvest alternative raw goods from industrial and domestic waste streams and landfill.
In our new book Radical Matter, we present a snapshot of projects and material innovations by the designers at the forefront of the making revolution. All over the world, an emerging generation of designers and makers are rethinking raw materials, repurposing waste, and presenting radical solutions to the challenges of making and surviving in the modern world. In this post we explore how designers are beginning to use the by-products of living systems as materials for design.
We are looking at the importance of tactility in our increasingly digital world. We are exploring why the sense of touch is so important and how designers are preserving our intimate and tangible connection to the world around us. In this Talent section, we showcase the creatives working in new ways to encourage touch and preserve the human sensation of tactile interaction.
From a distinctive footwear designer to a contemporary glass-blower and an unconventional make-up artist, we continue to identify the idea-makers of today – and tomorrow
With the global wellness industry estimated to be worth over $3.7 trillion, health is increasingly being placed front and centre of our lifestyles. No wonder, then, that innovative leisure brands are creating new spaces where urbanites can dwell, work and socialise, as well as get fit.
Colours have historically carried certain connotations. Within art and design, specific pigments have been attributed rich or poor status, defined as luxury or commonplace, intended for the elite or for the masses. But today, when any hue can be synthesised digitally or chemically, how do we attribute meaning and value to colour?
Touch is the great universal connector. A hug, a caress, a kiss, even a handshake, express our common humanity. Touch is the first sense to develop in the womb – from eight weeks, an unborn baby’s sense of touch is already forming – and from then on, positive touch is essential to our wellbeing, both physical and emotional.