While visiting my family at christmas I glanced at the opening page of a book my dad was reading. It was an auto biography of a friend of his, and the story began in 1929.
Suddenly everything connected: cycles, life cycles, generations succeeding one another and history repeating itself. 1929 was the birth year of my dad, while his own father sadly passed away within the same month. It was also the year of the great depression. While 2009 was promising to become the harshest recession – depression since, it was also the year my own son would be born.
A few days on we found a copy of the April 1929 edition of Städtebau, an architecture review my grandfather had been subscribing to with an account of an architect’s voyage to the United States from a Weimar Republic Germany: pre-TV, when radio - the wireless - still was a novelty, and “Nordamerika” still the other side of the world. I translated some extracts to share with you here. Now, what will the world be like when Lukas Pohl Blondez may, will, be turning 80? Spring 2089?
This leads us to a particular highlight in this issue, the interview with Elsbeth Juda on the wake of her 98th birthday. Featured here are images from her career as photographer and associate editor of the pioneering publication The Ambassador which functioned as trade magazine promoting British Exports, but was so much more.
Juda, along with her editor husband Hans Juda created fashion from what was staple garments (or fabrics) to start with; created and featured artist collaborations to spur British trade, industry and creativity and in the course of it, worked with the absolute stars of their times.
They championed the then unusual idea that design was integral to a product rather than a packaging afterthought, held international exhibitions abroad and introduced design to the ICA (London) through their connection with Roland Penrose and Lee Miller. In this issue I could only highlight some details of this incredible story, so do watch out for the sequel.
Fascinated by social history developing and unraveling before our own eyes, we look at the recent phenomenon of vintage in fashion. A term on everyone’s lips - and backs, these days, but how do you actually define vintage? We have asked experts their views.
Contemporary art projects in VERY 14 include artists Soandsau and Gianpaolo Pagni from Paris, Andrea Splisgar from Berlin. Further features discuss Eco Architecture at the Città dell’Arte in Biella, Florent Demarchez series “Novo Mundo(s)”.
Last but not least we present you “The School of Bassiata” in Niger, created by Marie-Françoise Roy and her two partners in exemplary international teamwork. A few can make such a difference to many. It is great to see that we all can make a difference if we only choose to. A new world? A novo mundo? Yes please, and let’s start now.