Over the past year or so, you've likely noticed a major change in the magazine's coverage. Sixteen months ago, we brought on board our first travel editor, Nate Storey, and since then we've introduced a section dedicated to that subject--one that has become a pivotal part of the Surface experience. We've also partnered up to create the Surface Hotels website, an online travel agency that caters to design-minded globetrotters. This month, we're relaunching surfacemag.com, which will feature City Guides that collate all of our intel in one place. And then there's this, our inaugural Travel Issue.
Who better to be the face of all this action right now than Richard Branson? On page 146, senior editor Charles Curkin speaks with him about his bold plans for civilian jaunts to outer space, some of his not-so-successful businesses (remember Virgin Vodka?), and his foray into the hotel game. Even if our editors aren't planning on voyaging to space anytime soon (or ever), with our travel coverage, you could say we have Bransonian ambitions.
In this issue, we take stock of the Four Seasons hotel brand (page 188), which is hard at work distinguishing itself from competitors through a determined focus on design. We visit the Mar Adentro hotel in Los Cabos, Mexico, designed by Miguel Angel Aragones (page 68). We have Manhattan hotelier Sean MacPherson pen an essay on his love of the philosophical book Quintessence (page 92); highlight three highly successful hospitality designers, Alexandra Champaulimaud (page 28), Guila Jonsdottir (page 84), and Tara Bernerd (page 168); and get Grupo Habita's Carlos Couturier to share his fall calendar with us in Itinerary (page 216). We also journey to Berlin (page 58), which has long been a bastion of forward-thinking art and design, and is now having a restaurant and hotel renaissance of sorts; Havana (page 174), where local artists, architects, and designers are both preserving the country's history and rewriting its future; and--closer to home--Pittsburgh (page 158), which is fast becoming a hotbed for tech companies and innovative urbanism. We also head to India, courtesy of photographer Simon Chaput, who captures two of the Jantar Mantar monuments there (page 198).
All of this got me thinking about my most memorable vacation this year: nine days at a small home the architect Marcel Breuer designed in 1949 for his friend the artist Gyorgy Kepes on Cape Cod. It wasn't just the architecture that made the visit special; it was the soul of the place. The way the light went through the trees and hit the walls at various times of the day. The stillness of the pond. The tatami-style flooring and sheepskin rugs. The simplicity. No Wi-Fi. Practically no cell reception. The disconnectedness. The meditativeness. It was no boilerplate trip. Not unlike the experience you'll have reading these pages.
Spencer Bailey, Editor-in-Chief