today marks our eighteenth birthday and the end of one final year of ‘adolescence’, a year that has seen the fiercely independent designboom label reach even greater heights. and as we celebrate what it means to become an adult – and the first milestone for many – designboom earns the privileges of looking back at its’ journey with editor in chief, birgit lohmann (and a few other familiar faces…)


‘since starting out in 1999 (in an internet cafè in bali!) the adventurous brand that is designboom has inched its way to global status, a feat that me and my partner and co-founder, massimo mini, had not planned in advance.’


eighteen years ago we were making design projects with the ‘godfathers’ of italian cool: achille castiglioni, maddalena de padova, elio fiorucci, vico magistretti, enzo mari, bruno munari and renzo piano. all of whom shaped us in big ways and small.


nothing about designboom was planned in advance. its success has been a coincidence of curiosity, passion, time and hard work — some say digital phenomenon — but certainly the world’s first online publication in a magazine style. it was a communication and design project that started when google debuted its search engine and pages were accessible only via modem. now only appreciated for it’s nostalgic provocations, back then it loaded articles featuring tiny images and a bit of text. no publishing software was available, and initially the layout was coded in-house by ourselves.




eighteen years has of course afforded us a timeline of monumental experiences and events but we’ve mostly stayed circumspect when it comes to issues related to politics and cultural polarization. we are not the opinionated news outlet, which often scowls at the ‘uncool’ and we’ve been delighted to connect with millions of readers who also appreciate the mirroring of wildly disparate things on the contemporary creative spectrum. 


in spite of a rise of marketing nonsense, turning newcomers and radical veterans into outsiders, we have always been determined to create an opportunity to unite and promote many makers and excellent projects.


the industrious, no-frills team is sensitive of the diverse nature of the times. designboom, deliberately, is not run by journalists, but by a inhomogeneous group of architects, designers and alike from different countries and cultural backgrounds, with an unconditional love for project-making. today, our collaborative framework has seen the realization of editorial offices and independent editorships in milan, beijing, tokyo, and more recently – thanks to our directors nina azzarello and philip stevens – new york.


together, not different from what we did as pioneers years ago, we show people things that we find interesting. personally we can be radical, and most publishers prospect their bias, but designboom embraces a broad definition of art, architecture, technology and design.


there are so many different kinds of people, people we relate to – they understand… they are smart, intelligent and humorous. they know what they want and they create the future. at designboom we like to talk about intention, and without the many who have participated in this 18-year-long endeavour, we would not be so popular today/where we are today and while designboom maintains dedicated relationships with the biggest names in business, its reader submission platform reflects a desire to communicate projects from all corners of the globe. passionate small practices, independent makers, enthusiastic students – all have the equal opportunity to present their ideas and work to our international readership of 4 million monthly users. while submissions are received from a diverse range of cultures and communities, they all have in common thread of creative passion, curiosity, and high quality achievement.


in line with this philosophy is the outlet’s curated commerce space – the designboom shop. items on offer are presented and sold directly from the creator and without any sales commission collected, it is a structure that seeks to enable entrepreneurial spirits around the globe and aims to support local economy.

thank you for reading us,
birgit lohmann

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