Like birthdays, anniversaries and any other calendar-marked milestones by which we measure ourselves, the year’s denouement brings with it an all-too-familiar sense of introspection and evaluation.
‘Unprecedented’ has certainly been this year’s most popular epithet, justifiably and, often, not meant so kindly. the world has been turned upside down by a pandemic, protests and political tensions dominate the news, and the climate change doomsday clock ticks ever closer to midnight. Closer to home, the design industry has also had to face some hard truths: how, still today, are representation, meaningful inclusion and equity not innate parts of its fibre? Why is opportunity only afforded to the privileged? And when will these lamentations become actions towards real and permanent change?
That’s why, this month, the team at House & Garden set out to create an unprecedented issue: one that dedicated itself entirely to representing the tenacity, talent and power of Black designers, not just in South Africa but throughout the continent and beyond. Africa is not monolithic, and neither are the design identities of its creatives – from Johannesburg to Marrakech, dakar to nairobi, the wealth and individuality of design is immeasurable; certainly too great to capture in a single issue of a magazine. that’s why we will commit to our continued support of designers from around the continent – in editorial representation, as well as in working with organisations that promote opportunity and empower new talent; as is our responsibility.
It’s my hope, as you read the incredible stories of the architects, designers, artists, changemakers and creatives in this issue, that you’re left with optimism for the future of the industry. Let’s make the unprecedented the norm so that this becomes a time that we can one day look back on with pride.
Piet Smedy, Editor-in-Chief