Friday, December 11, 2009

Letter to the Editor

Dear Ms Rense,

I cannot tell you in the manner of your usual correspondents in AD Letters that I really value your magazine. If it were not for the fact that it is delivered to my office each month, the subscription predating me, I would not give it the time of day.

However, I must say that the cover of the January 2010 issue really caught my eye. The headline The World's 20 Greatest Designers of All Time led me to wonder how you arrived at this conclusion and if your statement did not even for one second bring to mind the classic definition of hubris?

Nonetheless, let me say how edifying I find it that you have allowed three Europeans on the list but the strangeness, as I see it, of your choices led me to wonder if your list was limited to twenty members of your stable of designers and if your gaze did not range wider than that. Strangely America-centric choices, Ms Rense, for a magazine that styles itself as The International Magazine of Design.

Where are John Fowler, Stephane Boudin, David Mlinaric, Albert Pinto, Billy Baldwin et al? Strange choices, Ms Rense, strange choices! That you included Geoffrey Bennison, Kalef Alaton and Mark Hampton serves you well, and I am glad to see Arthur Elrod, virtually unknown today, on the list. Were there no Asians or Antipodeans that could have been considered? Did you not consider any designers who are still living?

Having said all that, let me tell you that the design of the cover is a classic piece of beautiful graphic design.




  1. Well said, I couldn't agree with you more.
    And what about the "New AD100"?
    Who is this Gearld Clark, who gets credit for writing(?) both stories?

    Did you mail it to her?
    How much longer can Conde Nast put up with her?


  2. Well said...I thought the same thing myself. I loved the cover...but was expecting more of it inside. So disappointing...

  3. Will, thank you. No, I didn't send it to Ms Rense - there is little point. And, Suzy, thank you too. I won't buy the magazine but as I said it comes across my desk and I glance through it and then either trash it.

  4. Send it to the Big Boys at Conde Nast.
    They need to get the word!

  5. Rense has been playing this game for years. She "punishes" John Saladino, Albert Hadley, Bunny Williams, etc., for not allowing right of first refusal. And no mention of the likes of Robert Metzger, whose projects she tried to shove down our throats several times a year for over a decade. (Regular Thomas Britt whose projects all look the same was included however). Any critical letter is "edited to meet the space requirements", so make sure your wording could survive chopping up if you do decide to mail your letter. With the magazine in such decline, part is probably just an effort to create buzz anyway.

  6. Thank you all.

    I assume the Architectural Digest PR people have Google Alert and are aware, if they care, of my blog post. If I am typical of the none-readership then it doesn't surprise me that the magazine might be in decline.

    John T. you've mentioned two people I'm going to deal with in the next few weeks. Great minds ..... etc.

  7. "World's greatest, best-ever, world's biggest" -so many catch phrases end up meaningless, but indicate competitive spirit or - lack of imagination. I'd always found ADusa cold and flat though I haven't seen it in years. The French version has wonderful photography and real personality and it is one of the most appreciated design/ deco magazines on the market today - and there are tons in France. For what it's worth, it was elected "decoration magazine of the year." If you aren't familiar with it, something tells me you would enjoy it.

  8. le style et la matière - thank you for telling me about AD France. I shall see if Barnes and Noble carry it but if not will order. Style and substance is very important to life, don't you think?

  9. How did I miss this post? I agree-though I dont subscribe anymore-My brother does, they get passed here quickly. The list from some things I read elsewhere sounds typical. It is amazing that a dictatorship can still exist in the world of magazines that is folding left and right? I hope AD got your google alert! GT