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Read ‘The Future Generations Issue’ – Note from the editor

Read identity's June 2023 issue on ISSUU or grab your copy

A few themes have come to the fore while putting together this issue, which – as its name suggests – explores the many ways in which a new generation of designers is navigating the field. While for many years we have been taught the importance of specialisation, these lessons are becoming less of a blueprint. The current zeitgeist is about going against the grain, breaking the mould, blurring the lines – whatever you prefer to call it. The fact remains that the new generation is more inclined towards fluidity rather than rigidity, where rules are mere suggestions – which, to me, is very exciting. 

Speaking to many of the young designers featured in the pages of this issue, the enthusiasm for exploration is undeniable: be it of new concepts, forms or materials. But besides aesthetic exploration, it is encouraging to observe how many designers today hold social and environmental issues to heart. While the design profession unfolds, it is up to the designers to shape what their future will look like – and this is more attainable today than ever before, as more designers and architects are being given a seat at the table to tackle complex social and environmental challenges. 

Exhibitions like ‘Hot Cities: Lessons from Arab Architecture’ – which is currently on show at the Vitra Museum and curated by Ahmed and Rashid bin Shabib – is a great example of how architecture and environmental challenges intersect, and how one can inform the other. 

Our cover this month features Paris-based designer Samer Selbak, who grew up between Nazareth and Haifa in northern occupied Palestine where his surroundings cultivated a love and appreciation for nature – values that he still upholds in his design practice. 

“I grew up being exposed to different cultures: On one hand [was] a traditional Palestinian lifestyle, preciously preserved by my grandparents and shared with us through storytelling, traditions and different activities around food and nature,” he told me. “On the other hand [was] a reality of living in an occupied place where you must always question conventions and fight for your place and for your own truth, and to find different types of compromises and inventions to react to those cultural clashes.” 

His Luffa Project, for me, personifies the values that we see in many young designers today, where the revival of an indigenous plant is about reclaiming one’s identity while also being conscious of the importance of the natural world. 

“I feel much more accomplished when I challenge myself to find creative ways not only to not harm the planet, but also to benefit it,” Selbak said during our interview, and I think these are definitely words to live by.

Read the June 2023 issue online

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