10 collector's issues of Domus will focus on the need to be proactive, to embrace the opportunity to change and the moral onligation to offer a vision for the future
David Chipperfield is the new guest editor of Domus magazine. He will be the third architect of the editorial project dubbed 10 x 10 x 10, where 10 architects of international fame will take turns at the helm for the duration of 10 monthly issues each, accompanying the magazine in the 10 years leading to its 100th anniversary. After the première instalment in 2018 led by the Italian architect and designer Michele De Lucchi, and the 2019 arrival of the Dutch architect and urban planner Winy Maas, the Domus adventure continues in 2020 with a new passing of the international baton.
British by birth, but cosmopolitan by vocation, David Chipperfield (London, 1953) is recognised the world over as one of the most eminent figures in contemporary architecture. His design practice, David Chipperfield Architects, was founded in London in 1985 and now has offices in Berlin, Milan and Shanghai.
"We are honoured to host David Chipperfield and share an entire year of his career and our life at Domus. What we have undertaken is a long and demanding voyage, an ambitious challenge that is complex, but in our opinion absolutely unavoidable," says Maria Giovanna Mazzocchi, the president of Editoriale Domus. "In order to face the profound changes underway, there is a need for a vision, a perspective. With each changing year, Domus is committed to offering the public a unique, diverse and original viewpoint. The arrival of David Chipperfield confirms the magazine's capacity for renewal by honouring its promise to attract, now as in the past, the most talented exponents of international design and architecture."
The need for vision is at the heart of the manifesto of intent written by Chipperfield for Domus 2020. His open letter will be delivered in large format along with a monograph dedicated to him, both published together as supplements to the Domus December 2019 issue.
"We need to offer worlds in which the considerations of community are better represented, and high-quality living conditions are regarded as a right. The solutions cannot be found in a single project. Meaningful paths are set further upstream in the process long before we take on our individual tasks. It is only by acting collectively that we will find our voice in those critical conversations," reads the architect's manifesto. "The brutal energy of investment and growth can only be countered with vision, so we need to offer a vision."
The will expressed by the new guest editor of Domus is a heart-felt call for all professionals to gain fresh awareness. "How should we react professionally as architects, designers and planners to the challenges of climate crisis and growing financial and socialinequality? We often claim that responsibility is in the hands of those who control the transactional, commercial and political framework within which we must operate, but for too long we have accepted the paradox of our resistance and complicity, developing narratives that explain away our discomfort. Beyond devising energy-consumption targets, ever-smarter technologies and sustainable materials, we must also question the fundamentals on which our professional positions have become dependent. We are not environmental scientists or sociologists, yet we know that our professions have social and environmental consequences, and that they could contribute to solutions."
Social issues and the environment are two aspects that form the backbone of Chipperfield's design thinking. Interviewed in December's monograph by Walter Mariotti, he mentions societal inequality, environmental sustainability and the rehabilitation of the importance of community as the three big challenges of our time.
These topics will be explored in Domus all throughout 2020, seeing Chipperfield's conviction that "it is impossible to talk about architecture now without touching upon these subjects. When we had conversations in the 1980s about urbanism, we would talk about social housing, but the concept was inclusive. We believed that everybody would be permanently included in what a city should be. In the intervening 40 years, we’ve also fallen victim to the situation. We are trying to make the best out of current circumstances, which is very different to how architects working in the 1960s and '70s felt Now, we don’t imagine we are going to solve these problems, but why not try? Nobody else is going to solve them."
The need for action and the opportunity to change are two parallel tracks that will be travelled while still maintaining faith in the incomparable physical power of architecture and the authority of aesthetic beauty. To Chipperfield, Italy is the long-standing "home of architectural culture".
The ten issues guest-edited by Chipperfield will each feature a cover by the German artist and photographer Thomas Demand.. The architectural project at the heart of each issue will be captured by Iwan Baan, the photographer behind major urban reportages of recent years. Jasper Morrison, one of the world's most respected designers, will be in lead the magazine's design section. In addition, a portrait by the celebrated British artist Humphrey Ocean, will be featured across the spines of the ten magazines.
The coordinator of the guest editorship will continue to be Walter Mariotti, the editorial director of the entire Domus enterprise, in addition to being responsible for the continuity of the 10 x 10 x 10 project. "With the arrival of David Chipperfield, the Domus network shows its ability to take on, at a global level, a central role to architecture and design in our era. Domus is set up as an interface of analysis and criticism of reality and its incongruencies, which are reflected in all aspects of social life, from geopolitics to finance. By diffusing increasingly evolved content and meaning through our magazine, events and digital services, Domus takes on the role of avant-garde bastion to challenge the criticalities of the media market, and the cynicism of a certain design ambit that continues to think of itself as unhitched from reality," says Mariotti.
The first issue of Domus 2020 by David Chipperfield will be available in early January on newsstands, in the best specialised bookstores and at museum shops in Italy and abroad.
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