When we start producing our Design Annuals, the staff of Portland Monthly sits down and basically free-associates. This yearly project revolves around great homes and awesome interiors. But we decided years ago—this is our third annual—that this special issue’s beat extends to every kind of “design” imaginable. Which means just about anything.
And so in the pages that follow, you’ll find wide-angle thoughts about future urban planning as well as small-and-beautiful objects crafted with laser-like attention to detail. Some of the region’s most intriguing new private homes sit alongside profiles of two very different design pros, Andee Hess and Kevin Cavenaugh, who each pursue a distinct vision of what our city’s public and quasipublic realms should look like.
Still, an unintentional theme did emerge. In Portland, design in just about every discipline or genre is a collaborative endeavor. Sure, client and contractor always hope to sing from the same hymnal. (If you’ve ever done a remodel, you may carry some trauma on that front. Let our collection of well-executed new kitchens salve your aesthetic wounds.)
But the creative forces of Portland design go further, combining and combusting like complementary elements on the periodic table. Need gear for a rugged but obscure sport? Industrial design students at the University of Oregon are ready to talk. Elegant wallpaper patterns arise from elaborate backstories. Even fresh pizza ingredients can be the subject of intense consultation.
This is just the Portland way—the ethic that also shapes our music, art, and food scenes. Wanting to avoid design FOMO, we got into the spirit ourselves.
Associate editor Marty Patail, steward of this issue’s Lookbook section, took some wild-eyed inspiration from a fringe gubernatorial candidate, known to history only as the Guy Who Wanted to Build a Waterslide Between Portland and Vancouver. Marty wanted to see what that thing would look like. So he walked across the street to chat with the design firm Industry—and the vision came to life. Well, close—you’ll see the most inspired mass transit solution of all time. Thanks to one lonely candidate’s ahead-of-its-time proposal, a couple of conversations, and some inspired design whimsy, this hydraulic dream awaits only a fourth collaborator: the engineer with the guts—nay, the vision—to build it.
As with just about every other page of Design Annual, that story shows what can happen when bright minds gather. Great working with you.
Editor in Chief