Kiggins Theatre Vancouver, Wash. Photo credit Shannon Korta

Kiggins Theatre Vancouver, Wash. Photo credit Shannon Korta

I will let you in on a little secret: when I first took on the role of editor-in-chief of The Section Magazine, I thought I knew nothing about design. Most of my previous work has focused on reporting the human element of war and conflict in the Middle East. In the first interviews I conducted for The Section I was concerned about my ability to write about an industry I knew nothing about and convey my stories in a nuanced and interesting way. This need to understand the design industry led to my obsession with defining what “design” means.  

Of course, I knew that design, in the most basic understanding of the word, had to do with the built environment—both what it looked like on the outside as well as on the inside. But working on The Section has taught me is that the definition of design encompasses so much more than the built environment. What I learned is that, like my previous reporting, design is very much about the human element. 

Through my interviews with architects, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, I learned that design is not just about the bricks and mortar of a building. Design is everything that is meaningful. Design is how we envision, plan and construct our lives. It is the complex systems that shape our careers. Design is the foundation of human creation. 

In the summer issue of The Section we began exploring the various forms of design and in our autumn issue, we will take you deeper.

Next week we open our issue with a week-long series highlighting a new and innovative design conference out of Vancouver, Wash. The theme of Design Vancouver fits right at home with The Section. Like The Section, the founders of the conference are seeking to explore design, in all of its wonderful and complex forms. 

Our series, “In Conversation With…” will bring you interviews with Academy Award nominee Rob Bredow, the executive creative director and head of George Lucas’s Industrial Light and Magic. I also interviewed Rob’s brother, Dennis Bredow (creative brilliance clearly runs in this family) who told me what it felt like to see your imagination come to life on the movie screen. “In Conversation With..” will also feature interviews with interior designer Jessica Helgerson, artist and comedic institute founder Laura Allcorn, and Akasha Lawrence Spence, the founder and principal designer of Fifth Element. 

Later this season we will bring you an interview with chef Curtis Duffy. As the head chef of Chicago’s Grace (ranked three stars by Michelin Guide each year since 2015) Duffy received worldwide acclaim for his culinary skills. When Grace abruptly shut in December 2017, the restaurant world waited with bated breath to see what Duffy would do next. The wait is now over. In our story, we talked to Duffy about Ever, his new restaurant (co-owned with GM Michael Muser) opening in 2020. We explore the close relationship he formed with his architecture team at Lawton Stanley Architects and dove deep on the subject of paths: the paths we take in life and how to come out stronger when those paths lead to loss. Talking to Curtis Duffy, learning about his determination, his drive and his incredible work ethic left me wanting to do more with my life. I know this interview will inspire our readers too. 

I had the honor of interviewing Sia Sanneh, Senior Attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit organization behind The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The memorial, which opened in April 2018 in Alabama, is dedicated to the victims of American white supremacy. This story is about a reckoning. A reckoning that the United States needs to have with a history of racism that led to the lynching of a thousand black people. Sia Sanneh shared her opinion on how building a monument in acknowledgment of our shared history can lead the United States on a path towards reconciliation. In that same vein of acknowledging our past, Jacob Nierenberg is back with a story on Vanport, an Oregon city that helped integrate the state. 

We will round out the autumn issue with a story on how to create a recession-proof company within the architecture industry (the lessons here can be applied to all industries). And finally, we have a series on education that will bring you, among other stories, a piece on the reality of homeschooling. 

I hope you enjoy our autumn issue. As always, if you have thoughts on past stories, ideas for future stories, or simply want to say hello please email me at Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Alexandra Bradford

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