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DWELL: Happy 10th Birthday!

I remember a friend of mine passing on a magazine to me about ten years ago. It was a different kind of home design magazine. The pages were filled with amazing photography and content highlighting a new kind of modern architecture and design; cutting-edge, green, sustainable construction and materials, eclectic, appealing, a little retro – all are descriptors for what I devoured on the pages of Dwell, and I never looked back. Was this mag for the trade or the homeowner? Both. Was this publication for architects, builders, designers or  design-savvy consumers? All of the above.

Lara Hedberg Deam

Lara Hedberg Deam is the founder of Dwell. While living in Mill Valley, California in the late 1990s, Deam began a remodel of her own small home. Her ideas of what the home was to be were not quite connecting with her architect the way she wanted. What to do? Go study at design school, then re-start her remodel project and write a business plan for an innovative, groundbreaking  magazine focused on bridging modern residential design and everyday life. Dwell was born – October of 2000. The magazine has helped to adjust the mainstream’s thought of what modern is from a design style to a philosophy for life.

Since Dwell’s launch it has grown to a circulation of over 325,000 and received many accolades and awards, including more than three dozen awards for design, circulation, and content, including the industry’s most prestigious award, General Excellence, from the American Society of Magazine Editors, in 2005.

First issue of Dwell, October 2000

In addition to the magazine, Dwell involves communities and promotes design on its website, design network, through a line of prefab homes, and at its annual Dwell on Design show in Los Angeles. Dwell’s success is certainly due to the multiple media platforms used to connect to its international readers and viewers.

Editor-in-Chief, Sam Gawe, cites the message board community on Dwell’s website is known as the Nice Modernist Community. He professes that Dwell shows progressive, modern home design does exist in cities like Oakland and Omaha, and such architectural concepts can be accessible to everyone through honest, relatable articles.

Stone, Glass, Metal - strong materials, elegant modern living

“One of my favorite things about modern architecture is how light is used,” says Lara Hedberg Deam. She continues,”Whether it’s about wanting more light or less light, modern design is free from constraints imposed by centuries-old architectural mandates and can provide the right light for the site.”  In the above image one can see her point of view exactly.

This June 24-26, 2011 at the LA Convention Center, Dwell on Design will host the largest design event on the west coast. Over 200 domestic and international vendors from the home design industry are represented  for a weekend of design indulgence!  Speakers, product knowledge seminars, aisles upon aisles of vendor booths and displays showcasing the very latest in modern lifestyle concepts and products are available to ticket holders. Dwell on Design is an “idea-fest” open to the public and trade professionals. Check here for updates on tickets and program details.  

Contrasting exterior materials create interest

Just five years ago, the award-winning Los Angeles-based architecture and construction firm Marmol Radziner + Associates collaborated with Dwell on a line of prefabricated homes. Marmol Radziner Prefabhas a collection of homes specifically with Dwell in mind. The partnership is dedicated to creating sustainable, modern homes built in a factory and delivered complete. Marmol Radziner Prefab is able to design homes in almost any size or configuration. Why is this noteworthy? Well, Dwell has in effect made it “cool” to live in a prefab home!

windows, mirrors, neutral color palette = easy dwelling

 In the very first issue of Dwell (10/2000), Karrie Jacobs, founding editor-in-chief of Dwell,  published her “Fruit Bowl Manifesto”. In it she depicts the quintessential ‘arranged’ bowl of fruit as staged and manufactured versus the concept of good, modern design as fresh and comfortable. The perfection photographed in typical shelter magazines is not connected to real living, according to Jacobs. Marmol Radziner Prefab is an example of creating living options with “honesty and curiosity about methods and materials”, to quote Jacobs. She continues on to write, “Mass production and beauty are not mutually exclusive, and a certain optimism is not just about the future, but about the present. Maybe that’s the most important thing.” -That is exactly what Dwell Magazine represents.  

lakehouses don't all have to wear plaid.....

While most media companies are struggling with advertising expenses increasing and circulation numbers decreasing, Dwell Media continues to grow. Dwell, founded by trailblazer Lara Hedberg Deam and now with Michela Abrams as Publisher and CEO believe the Web is about sharing experiences. Dwell Media’s “feather in the cap” is its business partnership with Apple; look for more applications available on the iPhone and iPad offering tools for architechts, designers and savvy consumers. Abrams says, “I’m a huge believer in community. In order to make digital content on the iPad effective, publishers have to integrate all aspects of their audience into the digital experience.”   Last but certainly not least,  get ready to set your DVRs: in February, 2011 plans are in the works for PBS to broadcast Dwell programming. Clearly, there is some serious celebrating going on at Dwell HQ with this milestone birthday!

So, Happy Birthday Dwell! The past ten years have been exciting to read and follow your journey!You share, educate and create all things related to the modern lifestyle. Your multi-media and digital presence is fueling the interest of a huge, worldwide audience. Dwell is a community, and the circle is getting larger and larger. Let’s hear a “Hip, Hip, Hooray” for a company that’s listening and providing for the design interests of a diverse audience. Now that’s modern thinking!

Easy Living Outside - Dwell Style

Photo credits go to Dwell Magazine 

To read about my design work, go to The Design Partner , and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank You to our Welcome Home Sponsor, Kim Eichorn!

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