We've been followers of Dwell ever since they launched in 2000, and we just got another reason to keep reading - the design mag's first ever Light & Energy issue just hit newsstands this month. Like past editions, the April issue is chock full of home design eye candy, but it specifically zeroes in on two topics that are near and dear to us - green innovation and sustainability. We recently had the chance to catch up with Dwell Editor-in-Chief Amanda Dameron about what readers can expect to find in the glossy pages of the Light & Energy edition, and we even heard about some of the energy-efficient, passive strategies she uses in her own apartment. Read on for all of the details.
INHABITAT: Can you tell us a little about Dwell’s Light & Energy issue and what kind of content readers can expect when they pick it up on newsstands this month?
AMANDA: I enjoy issue themes that give the editors a lot of creative leeway, and notions of light and energy can certainly be interpreted in myriad ways. For this issue we have a little bit of everything—smart residences, new lighting products, thoughtful conversations, and a couple history lessons thrown in for good measure. There’s a great interview about sustainability with Bill McDonough penned by Alexis Madrigal, in addition to a fun look at using fire at home to cook, heat and illuminate. Another favorite is a one-page piece on the Morgan Library—not many people realize that J.P. Morgan’s residence was the first successfully wired home in New York, and that it was even wired by Thomas Edison himself! When we were still in the very early stages of planning the issue, I was reading Jill Jonnes’ amazing book “Empires of Light” and in it there’s a great passage about Morgan and Edison’s relationship. Once I read that, I took a little detour to the actual museum and discovered that the library was retrofitted with LED bulbs in 2010. This is something that’s really exciting for me—uncovering different ways to define what “modern” means in the context of design and architecture. Few people would call a turn-of-the-century brownstone ‘modern’ today, yet when it was built it was the most modern home the country had ever seen.
INHABITAT: This will be Dwell’s first ever Light & Energy issue. What was the inspiration to launch this?
AMANDA: We did a “Light” issue in 2009 that was really well received, so we wanted to build on the idea to integrate a larger conversation about energy.
INHABITAT: What kinds of trends are you seeing in terms of lighting and energy management?
AMANDA: Unfortunately I keep seeing those bulbs with the exposed filaments in restaurants and bars from coast to coast. I wish that the owners of those establishments would stop using them—I know they look cool and speak to that retro-industrial vibe that everyone seems to want, but these things aren’t exactly energy efficient. I hope people will think twice before trying to replicate the look at home.
INHABITAT: Dwell is known for looking into the future of home design. What are some of your predictions for home lighting and energy within the next 5-10 years?
AMANDA: I think lighting designers are making great strides in creating pieces that make the most of fluorescent and LED technology. The more attractive options available in the market place, the easier it will be for people to stop hoarding incandescents!
INHABITAT: What are some of the types of exciting breakthroughs in lighting and energy that we can expect to see in the issue?
AMANDA: I love our new Senior Editor Kelsey Keith’s roundup of new lighting pieces, and I think Will Bostwick’s essay on the history of the light bulb is a very good read as well.
INHABITAT: Do you utilize green lighting and energy saving measures in your own home? If so, what are some of the products you use and can you share any tips with our readers?
AMANDA: I’m an apartment dweller, but I’m lucky to have a good amount of natural light and a good passive cooling setup, which diminishes our need for electric illumination and air conditioning. We are constantly unplugging appliances that are not in use, we try to be very conscious of our water usage, and we tend to be very judicious with lamp light. Also, I just moved from San Francisco and therefore I have a large collection of sweaters—which means that when it gets cold, I reach for the layers instead of reaching for the heater. I also have a menagerie of pets, who help keep me warm at night, too!
Dying to get your hands on your own Light & Energy issue? Swing by your local newsstand or go to Dwell’s website to subscribe.