Why do we have such a far reaching fondness for the past? Where did it come from and why does it compel us so strongly – everything looks better in hindsight, right? As time passes and memories sweeten, a soft spot for bygone eras draws dangerously close to putting them on the proverbial, unattainable, pedestal. Which begs the question: Is it impossible to move forward if we keep looking back?
In this issue we wanted to explore the idea of retrospection further, as the design industry is one with a particular penchant for all things ‘nostalgic’.
The celebrated names and faces of architect John Wardle and designer Marc Newson grace this issue and we count ourselves lucky to have borrowed their time. Both men have reputations that precede them and we ask how has this impacted their approach to future projects. Does it help or hinder?
In his essay Passé Composée, Stephen Todd relays Patricia Urquiola’s suggestion that it is impossible to ignore the past, that we must use it to inform the future.
Later on, Andrea Stevens writes about childhood memories revisited – and reworked. New Zealand’s Opahi Bay was once the small town frequently visited by a young couple and their three daughters. Now, a generation on, it’s the slightly larger small town in which the same three daughters have subdivided the land on which their holiday home once stood. One lives there permanently with her young family in a new home that evokes the past yet allows space for the future.
Without holding on too tightly, I think it’s possible honour the past, perhaps even draw inspiration from it, and use it to better the future. I hope that’s what we’ve shown you. I hope that’s what you get from these pages.
Image courtesy of ‘Cassina: This Will Be The Place’ written by Felix Burrichter and Cassina. Left to right: LC4 CP, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand, 1928. 111 Wink, Toshiyuki Kita, 1980. Photography by Beppe Brancato at Villa Erba, Cernobbio, Como, Italy.