Of all the challenges and unexpected benefits of lockdown, one ray of light and optimism was the announcement this spring of Design Emergency, a project by two design visionaries, Alice Rawsthorn and Paola Antonelli.

Individually they have shaped contemporary design, Alice being a highly influential critic and author of Design as an Attitude and Hello World: Where Design Meets Life, and Paola a senior curator of MoMA, creator of ‘Broken Nature’ at the XXII Triennale di Milano – one of the most important exhibitions of recent times – and winner of the London Design Medal at this year’s LDF. Now they have joined forces to explore design’s role during and after Covid-19 – through an Instagram Live series with thematic discussions, interviews, and introductions to design innovations. Design Emergency is exactly what we needed: a testament to design’s ability to innovate and inspire in a time of crisis.

We also welcome the consistently brilliant Studio Frith, involved in Design Emergency from the outset, which has guest art-directed this special section, and Brigitte Lacombe, who photographed everyone involved on Zoom, creating captivating images that resonate with our unique circumstances. 

Elsewhere in the issue, we’ve commissioned photographer Hannah Starkey to create a 17-page portfolio of London in lockdown, and we take a deep dive into American Hardwood and Benchmark’s Connected, a project that invites international talents to design from a distance. Further highlights include Michael Anastassiades’ furniture debut for Molteni & C, Tavares Strachan’s rediscovery of a forgotten polar explorer, Miska Miller-Lovegrove’s transformation of a 16th-century Polish merchant’s house, and Deyan Sudjic’s account of Chilean design studio GT2P’s affair with lava.

Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief

Specifications - Soft cover.

Please note: covers will be shipped out randomly.