I grew up with my hand on an atlas and my eyes in a National Geographic. The world outside my Los Angeles neighborhood just seemed so colorful, and living in a melting pot of cultures and languages only stoked that fire in my soul that still hasn’t diminished. If forcing your visitors to appreciate a step-by-step account of your latest trip via slideshow were still a thing, I’d bring the popcorn after every one of my friends’ trips abroad. Since it’s not, I patiently Facebook-stalk their accounts to like everything they post instead. One of the many wonders of the Internet is allowing us to travel from behind the screen in the comfort of our own spaces!
Of course, that same ability to trek across countries and oceans with a single click has changed the ways in which we work. In 2015, the American Society of Interior Designs (ASID) found globalization continued to hold as one of the most important macro-trends in the industry. Location no longer matters as long as that location can connect you to the Internet. (We should probably go ahead and change the old adage of “location, location, location,” to “Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi.”)
While there are many positive benefits of being able to experience the world without a passport and to design from a distance, it’s important to realize the ways in which approaching other cultures without taking the time to understand them can backfire, as Pamela Kelly of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation explains in her Field Notes on appreciation versus appropriation (page 16). As we discussed with Jon Kastl and Winston Kong, principals at design studio Champalimaud, often the most important tool we can take to the table as designers is to listen and understand the client, even across language and cultural divides.
But most of all, what we wanted to show you in this issue is just a sliver of the wonderful designs in the wider world. So grab your favorite Indiana Jones hat (I know you have one…), and prepare to travel the globe from the comfort of your armchair.
Kadie Yale | Editor in Chief