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form 245 – Januar / Februar 2013

Sharing – Vom Ich zum Wir
With the recent insolvency of the Frankfurter Rundschau and the demise of the Financial Times Deutschland, it has become clearer than ever that magazines and newspapers need a strong identity and a distinctive profile to survive in the embattled marketplaces of economy and attention, not to mention the vanity fairground. It is enough to make you want to shout: “No one has ever grown by downsizing!” to all those who are no longer interested in remaining publishers, conspicious only for the way they keep merging editorial staff teams. Identity and profile cannot be strengthened if journalists increasingly feel forced to follow the – often very alluring – temptations and pre-selections set by marketing, PR and advertising. Of one thing we are certain: neither your curiosity nor ours is aroused by the obvious. Only by actively seeking out the hidden, the dormant and the ignored can we consistently identify the genuinely new ([D³] Contest preview), rediscover the almost forgotten (AG Fronzoni) and critically highlight connections (Discourse and Past Present Future).
Sometimes, while putting a magazine together, the things and events featured, although initially unrelated, fortuitously add up to a consensus. In our view at least, an interesting thread has emerged that runs through the present issue: Many designers are turning away from the new as an end in itself, they are focusing instead on a critical engagement with what already exists. Be it in thoughtful approaches to lost objects (Stuart Haygarth), rubbish (Studio Swine and Kieran Jones), historical locations (h2o) or traditional crafts (Matylda Krzykowski and Handmade in Germany), to mention just a few examples. Another noticeable phenomenon is the ongoing interest, amongst young designers in particular, in stools, chairs and benches. To reflect this, we have laid a thread of our own throughout the issue to show some of our favourites.
Being a freshly formed team has invaluable advantages, it allows us to leave the beaten track and embark in new directions. There are no top dogs, no entrenched power games, no past resentments and no obstructive tactics masquerading as experience. It goes without saying that we are all enjoying this aspect of the project almost as much as the work on the magazine’s content. Within this constellation of publishers and editorial staff, we come close to an ideal sharing situation (our focal theme). As well as dealing with the fundamental questions of why we have such difficulties with sharing in general, and with the giving and taking of knowledge in particular, we also examine the benefits and drawbacks of Open Design and present the Finnish citizen-based project Brickstarter. Finally, we take a look at the music business, which – although not entirely by choice – became one of the first creative industries to tackle this issue. 
Other Topics
The First Istanbul Design Biennial: Photographer Ali Taptik captures gentrification by the Bosphorus +++ On Show: BIO 23 (Ljubljana) and Handmade in Germany (Berlin) +++ Books: Ken Garland / Structure and Substance +++ Material Research: All the Colours of the Rainbow and Green  

 
 

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