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Design as the Vehicle for Positive Change

May 3, 2016

There is one thing I am absolutely certain of: Design can, is, and should be the vehicle in which we make the world a better place for all of us. Sure, maybe it isn’t the aim of all design to leave the world a better place, but in general, the thing I love about design is that it is constantly asking where we can improve.

In March on the i+s blog, I wrote about the concept of “othering,” particularly in cases of physical and mental disabilities. I was honored to be on the mental health panel at Design Connections Healthcare in February, and my heart grows with pride to know I am part of an industry that can make such a strong difference in this world. I know that every single one of us on my staff has experience watching a loved one deal with being treated differently or unfairly due to their being exactly who they are.

Of course, this extends beyond disabilities. We tend not to tread political waters here at i+s, but after hearing Andrew Joseph’s thoughts on the HB2 law in North Carolina, as well as similar laws spreading throughout the country, we felt we shouldn’t stay silent. Therefore, we have chosen to re-run his op-ed here.

What I personally find so commendable about Mr. Joseph’s stance is the breaking of the traditional mindset that there are only two options—to boycott or not. Instead, he chose to make a stand during High Point Market to support local designers, while speaking against HB2, both in person and through social media. “Design Don’t discriminate” #designagainstHB2 has been the rallying cry.

You’ll notice we’ve taken a similar stance in our May issue. Our Product in Placement article of the North Carolina Stanhope student housing had long been slated to be published in the art issue, and we decided to continue as planned despite the location.

On a tragic note, we also acknowledge the death of the remarkable boundary-breaker, Zaha Hadid, on March 31st.

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1950, Dame Hadid is widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. In 2004, she became both the first woman and the first Muslim to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. Most recently, she was awarded the RIBA’s 2016 Royal Gold Medal—once again as the first woman to be awarded the honor in her own right.

Her exquisite grasp of form and function has led many of the 950 completed projects in 44 countries to be considered architectural icons, including the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan with its beautiful, sweeping curves.

Dame Hadid did not allow what others may think of her gender, religion, or ethnicity to stand in the way of her craft. While many of us hope to just leave this world in slightly similar conditions in which we came into it, Zaha Hadid left behind monuments to beauty and the future of design.
We keep her family, friends, and colleagues in our thoughts. Thank you, Dame Zaha Hadid, for adding such beauty to our world.

Kadie Yale | Editor in Chief
[email protected]

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