LGBT+ – Prides have been responsibly canceled worldwide due to social distancing measures. But violence, discrimination and homophobic mind sets are more resilient than Coronavirus… And the pandemic exacerbated the emergency! Who can shape a more inclusive world better than those who actually create our cities, homes and meeting spaces? While the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transexual – LGBT – community is big in the architecture and design business, there is so much that can be done. We spoke with Ikea, 2LG and Adam Nathaniel Furman.
- RELATED STORIES: read more about architecture and design supporting the LGBT community on Archipanic…
IKEA U.S. celebrated Pride Month by launching a rainbow version of the company’s iconic KVANTING shopping bag, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Ali Forney Center of New York City and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
“At a challenging time when much of the country and the world must self-isolate, it is important to recognize the meaning of the word ‘home,” said Rafael Fantauzzi, country equality, diversity and inclusion officer at Ikea U.S. “Unfortunately, … the four walls of a house are not always a ‘safe space.’ That’s why we’re committed to creating a more loving, accepting world: Because everyone deserves to feel at home, every day, everywhere.” Indeed, during the pandemic, many young LGBT+ people have been bullied and abused by their own families, partners and flatmates they had been forced to live with.
While fashion, food and technology sectors widely embraced the LGBT+ campaigns, in the design business only very few companies showed sympathy. Why? “We would like to think this is because the design industry is filled with creative minds who are forward enough to have embraced equality a long time ago and are striving to design for a world in which we are all human beings on an equal playing field.” Say Jordan Cluroe and Russell Whitehead, founders of 2LG – 2 Lovely Gays – studio to Archipanic.
“Unfortunatley that is an idealistic outlook and perhaps there is still a long way to go. Designers are on the front line of creating a better world so anything that can be done to help the fight for equality is important as we are not there yet”. 2LG studio has recently launched limited edition rainbow benchhes for British design brand ercol which were auctioned in support of London LGBT social programs.
“Nowadays you can be a gay architect, but you can’t do queer architecture,” says Adam Nathaniel Furman to Frame magazine. According to the British designer, the current rejection of post-modernism in interior architecture also cloaks a dismissal of the gender-bending aesthetics associated with queer spaces, as gay nightclubs in Europe are dying of real-estate and Grindr-induced malaises, Furman’s Nagatacho apartment is a tribute to those formerly safe femme spaces.
“Queerness, is accepted as a lifestyle… but one has to conform in terms of what one produces and how one acts. ‘There is a visual and manneristic disallowing,’ he added. In other words: today you can design spaces like Tom Ford, but not John Waters. His recent Nagatacho Apartment project proudly reclaims and celebrates the softly hued and suggestively curved aesthetic that many fellow gay professionals seem to dismiss as unprofessional.
Does a LGBT creative get a harder life? “We try to keep our eyes on the work we do and we don’t let anyone shut doors on us or put us into boxes because we are going to continue doing us no matter what. Then is the freedom we have learnt over time with experience. It has not been given, we have had to make it for ourselves. Design is our second career so we feel liberated and love having an independent business where we don’t have to answer to anyone.” Add Curloe and Whitehead at 2LG studio.
A long way to go? Looking forward to it. Our motto is NO PANIC, JUST LOVE!