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form 244 – November / December 2012

Cover Story: Erneuerbare Tradition – Secrets to a Long Life in Design
Our relationship with history is ambivalent. At one time or another, we all wrestle with aspects of our past – a wrong decision, a missed opportunity, or even a loss of memory – as reflected in the often-heard sighs of “if only I’d done …” or “things were better back then”. Even “former glory” may pursue those concerned for the rest of their lives if they come to see themselves as has-beens.
The pasts of our respective nations also refuse to leave us in peace. Whether we like it or not, we are obliged to deal with various excesses of torture, persecution or killing. Designers have ways and means of representing, illustrating and visualizing this process of coming to terms with history in very concrete terms, and we can only hope that they do so much more often in the future.
As one specific aspect of history, tradition is worth considering in greater detail. It, too, is something we approach with certain reservations, associating it with fustiness and dustiness, with a lack of future potential, and with limited flexibility. On closer examination, however, we soon realise that the opposite is the case. Tradition can only come into being through an ongoing process of dusting off (or at least kicking up the dust), developing future prospects with a high degree of flexibility, which is why we chose the seemingly contradictory title “Sustaining Tradition” for this issue.
As our focal theme stories make clear, sustainability in this kind of context can be qualified: With varying degrees of emphasis (depending on sector, location and culture) and with different business models (family company, network, private equity company). Here, too, national characteristics and histories play an important role, as shown by examples from Germany (infographic feature on family tradition, photo story on the Wetzlar Network), England (interview with Vitsoe’s Mark Adams), Finland (Artek) and Italy (La Famiglia Italiana).
This issue of form sees more changes to the magazine. Although we will continue to focus mainly on ideas, concepts, projects and products from the German-speaking world, an increasing amount of space will also be devoted to the rest of Europe, as in this issue. But form has always been addressed towards an international readership. We currently have subscribers in 62 countries around the globe, from Argentina to Iran to Vietnam. Many of these readers can only be reached and served by outstanding English texts, an aim achieved both by a better quality of translations on the one hand, but also by commissioning more work from English-speaking writers. We want to reflect form’s bilinguality and its growing internationality in our layout (just the focal theme section for now) by printing the texts in their original language first – starting in this issue with the abovementioned Mark Adams interview. 
Other Topics
From mega-turbines to hygienic cutlery: form’s autumn design news +++ Different strokes, different folks: Constance Guisset, Tino Seubert, Artur Tucholke and SwissInfographics +++ Long Life Thinking in a Short Term World: Herbert Grüner takes a post-boom business perspective on design responsibilities +++ Two Milanese design critics look at the democratization of design  


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