'Red Envelope' is a triennial journal encompassing a thought-based open platform exploring and challenging our built environment
Drawing from Chinese and South East Asian societies, which share the custom of giving gifts in Red Envelopes or packets, LWK + PARTNERS' three-part ‘Red Envelope’ series seeks to freely share thought and insight as a global source of knowledge.
We are thrilled to be sharing with you all the first issue of our ‘Red Envelope’, a triennial journal encompassing a thought-based open platform exploring and challenging our built environment.
The journal is now available in limited print set and digital format which we proudly have been preparing for you over the last 20 months. Alongside carefully selected collections of stories by our editor, each issue will feature a number of selective contributors tackling critical themes.
We very much hope that ‘Red Envelope’ will act as a facilitator for innovation, discourse, thought leadership and global engagement.
In 2018, LWK + PARTNERS established its MENA studio in Dubai in response to its own transformative relaunch, positioning the company as a global design, innovation and knowledge leader in the fields of architecture, design and planning.
‘Red Envelope’ is our response to change; it is our opportunity to crystalise more than 30 years of experience and broaden our own knowledge base through digital transformation, moving into a new direction and challenging the concepts of our former working methods.
With the surge in digital media, it made sense to focus on developing something that was not only informative and lovely to read, but that also made you want to hold onto it, revisit and collect it.
In 2020, LWK + PARTNERS' ‘Red Envelope’ series metaphorically hits the kiosk, bookshops and browsers around the world with its bold red frame, and in maintaining a keen global focus on the built environment through the lens of knowledge, culture, art, society and technology, it seeks to curate thought and innovation through shared insight as an open platform.
As the global economy goes into freefall, we hope our general optimistic take on the world, and in particular our urban environments, will find a following of readers looking for fresh glimpses and aspirations in both emerging and established markets. With a commitment to reporting from the ground and sharing knowledge and ideas from key territories, the ‘Red Envelope’ journals will be available as a global resource, offering a distinct voice on topics as diverse as urbanism, transport, retail, landscape public realm, experiential design and much more.
Taking its inspiration from the journals of the 1950s and 60s that celebrated a world on the move, the ‘Red Envelope’ opens with a focus on urban design and regeneration -transformative disciplines that fundamentally impact people’s lives and act as a catalyst for change, renewal and hope.
As the series' first installment, this journal offers a platform for pondering possibilities. Titled Urban Planning & Regeneration it questions their role as the stage for the perpetuation of human culture, which, if not recognised and redefined, may find their current lackadaisical condition to be terminal, witnessing the continued diminution of their status as perpetuators. “The work of the architect is a work of imagination, yet it cannot simply be a dominating gaze, an act of whim, or, conversely, a sacrifice at the altar of commercial interest alone.” said Kerem Cengiz – MENA Managing Director.
Our journal is a global chronical of the people, places and ideas that aim high, deliver innovation, challenge the conventions and force us all to reevaluate our own perceptions. The essays operate within the disciplines of the built environment, while furthering interdisciplinary understanding across horizons.
“The theme, urban planning and regeneration, is an umbrella term. It encapsulates a wide variety of disciplines and urban forms, and this journal is an ode to that wealth of diversity.” said Rima Alsammarae – Editor and architecture/culture journalist.
From emergency planning in India to local artists in Sudan beautifying their streets in a post-Revolution Khartoum, the stories shared offer documentation and anecdotes of architectural and urban history. While likely to be appreciated by architects, planners and designers, we believe they will be insightful for the general public too – as they are, at the end of the day, stories of human perseverance.
In Envelope 01 LWK + PARTNERS's Design Director, Kourosh Salehi, addresses very prescient challenges around global security, and how natural and man-made disasters have always shaped the planning of cities. Mohamed Adel Dessouki an assistant professor of architecture at the Arab Academy for Science and Technology explores the lives of the world’s oldest planned, still inhabited street which continues to reflect the ongoing transformations of an ever-evolving city. While, one year on from the 2019 revolution in Sudan, Ola Diab a Sudanese journalist explores how a country’s streets and buildings have been given a make-over, courtesy of Sudanese street artists.
In India, Nipun Prabhakar an architect/ researcher shares how a community in Gujarat responds to an emergency re-urbanisation plan following the disastrous 2001 earthquake. One particular case study takes us to Sardar Nagar, a rehousing settlement that threatened to become a slum of thousands.
Elsewhere, our editor Rima Alsammarae engages in a conversation with Syrbanism, a community of urban practitioners and thinkers who want to contribute to development alternatives and be active in creating avenues where better urban solutions can be created, analysed, exhibited and popularised. Lastly, we discover Baghdad's original urban design, which marked the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate.
We hope our general optimistic take on the world, and in particular our urban environments, will find a following of readers looking for fresh glimpses and aspirations in both emerging and established markets. Because in a world where digital media is establishing new paradigms of communication and challenging perceptions of traditional communication, urbanism and architecture may indeed be able to carry continued value, conveying meaning through physical metaphor and embodying cultural understandings by creating places for all to cherish.
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