This was supposed to be a celebratory issue in two ways: in these pages we are celebrating members and firms that have received OALA and CSLA Awards while also celebrating a milestone for Ground—our 50th issue. This is the first issue produced under lockdown due to COVID-19, and in so many ways it has put a damper on this and many other occasions where we should be honouring ourselves and others. I was looking forward to meeting with colleagues I don’t otherwise get to see through the year at our AGM in London.
As a theme in this issue, Flow is covered in its manifold interpretations from the most direct of connections, water, to the flow of materials traced from source to market, and to the more abstract concept in our Round Table—the flow of ideas and how they drive and energize our creative process and output. It’s the latter interpretation of the theme which has been on my mind, and I am sure the minds of many others recently.
While the Round Table was held in the days when the Coronavirus was working its way through other countries, by now the creative process has been turned on its head for many people. Creativity could be thought of as taking the uncertainty of beginnings, bringing an idea into focus, and then finally achieving a tangible goal. Our studies, which prepared us for practice, and the environments we work in, are ideally stable matrices that allow the creative process to flourish. All of this stability has now been undermined and replaced by uncertainty. Every single aspect of one’s day is challenged by a sense of threat, when parents have to not only provide but somehow deliver curriculum and engage kids whose own life is upside down, when technology supplants the typically frictionless environment of the studio, our creative sensibilities are submerged by basic survival and the trivialities of getting through yet another day.
This issue was conceived and the theme developed in recognition that, every once in a while, we need to look at our profession, our work, with a little less gravity and commemorate good work, taking advantage of what is supposed to be the season of “living easy.”
Our wish for all our readers is twofold: that you can find a peaceful place to enjoy this issue in the spirit that it was created by all who have given their precious time—our generous authors, editorial and production design team—and that each of you remain safe, well, and persevere so that in a year’s time, if all goes well, we can better appreciate the privilege of practicing our life’s work in each other’s company.
Eric Klaver, OALA
Co-Chair, Editorial Board