I woke up at 3 am with blood running down my arm. Cool wind hit my face. I was sleeping on a vinyl sofa in Manchester, NH checking a print run of Design Times magazine at a plant that runs around the clock. I realized I must have smashed my fist through the window, while trying to get some shut-eye between shifts and that I was sweating out a nightmare: one of the architectural projects coming off the press was all smeared—and no one had noticed or cared. No one was there to stop this travesty.
Clearly, the challenge I faced as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Design Times back in the mid-eighties had become a passion, which had now caused this self-inflicted wound. We were obsessed with a goal: to give voice to architects and designers in New England. We felt they could transform lives by turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, but we felt that that narrative wasn’t getting across. Architects spoke blueprint, the public spoke English.
In ’85, a real estate association hired me to create a one-shot magazine for their sales expo at the Hynes. I dubbed it Condominium Life. I had high hopes, but the thing was a flop. You couldn’t give away a condo that year. But then I started getting calls: “Can we subscribe to your magazine? Even though we don’t own a condominium, we love your stories about design and architecture.”
Less than a year later, Design Times hit the stands. From writing almost every article myself under pen names “Lloyd Wright”, and “Lou Kahn” in a rented apartment in Medford, I found myself working with a talented staff of writers, editors, and art directors, as well as a Board of Advisors headed up by architect/sculptor Richard Bertman of CBT Architects . We soon moved to Newbury Street and then, after a few years of parking hell, to the Boston Design Center. The noted architect David Hacin designed our offices: a great work/party space! Even though design itself was increasingly vulgarized by designer haircuts, jeans, and tortellini, we felt Design Times was having an impact, that we were helping nudge design back to its rightful place at center of our culture.
Without going into gruesome detail, we sold Design Times in 2002 to a group that soon folded it. Later, in 2005, I teamed up with Dan Kaplan, Paula Bodah, and Kyle Hoepner to create a new magazine, New England Home “Celebrating Architecture and Design” which I continue to write for as a Contributing Editor. Earlier this year, I began an architecture column for Graphisoft USA, which I love doing. In it, I explore recent developments in a wide range of topics: programmable materials, biomimicry, neuro-architecture, and social media marketing.
Earlier this year, I began an architecture column for Graphisoft USA (Archicad) called Ask Louis, which I love doing. In it, I explore recent developments in the science meets design space: programmable materials, biomimicry, neuro-architecture, and digital fabrication.
While my passion for telling design tales has only increased, if anything, I’m no longer waking to blood running down my arm from having smashed it through printer’s window. And that’s a good thing.