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INSIDE BUSINESS / PUBLISHING
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Architectural Digest’s visionary Editor-In-Chief Paige Rense speaks with DTM.
In 1920, Architectural Digest was with writers and photographers about
founded as an annual Southern Califor- how to realize concepts. I’ll work with our
nia publication. Powerhouse Paige Rense creative and editorial team, choosing sub-
was hired 50 years later and was quickly missions – spreading out scores of design
promoted to the demanding position of work on our conference table to choose
editor-in-chief. Her mission: “to remake those projects that will make it into the
the magazine in the tradition of Europe- book. Everything about putting together
an art books, but to focus on decorating, the magazine energizes me, and has for
decorators and their clients.” the last 38 years. I still love coming to
Celebrity-at-home features were work every day!
launched the fi rst year of the young
What was your inspiration for the
editor’s reign. “Architectural Digest Vis-
Open Auditions tour? Has the re-
its” articles included stars such as Ingrid
sponse met your expectations? What
Bergman, Truman Capote, Julia Child,
are the plans for the winners?
Joan Crawford, Robert Redford and Gore
Vidal. Within the year, the magazine’s cir-
[
I still love coming to work every day!
[
T_h e genesis of the Open Audition con-
culation quadrupled and ad sales rose more
– Paige Rense cept was a long time percolating. I’ve heard
than 550 percent.
for years how people wanted to get their
celebrated writers contributing text-rich
In 1993, Condé Nast Publications
home into the magazine, but they “didn’t
articles, specialty issues and the bi-annual
bought Architectural Digest (and Bon Ap-
know anyone there.” I wanted to dispel the
AD 100 list, to name but a few, the maga-
pétit, of which Ms. Rense was the found-
misconception that AD was somehow an
zine has always been a bellwether for the
ing editor) from Knapp Communications.
elitist ivory tower to climb. So, we decided
publishing and design industries.
Today, Architectural Digest is one of the most
to bring the magazine to the people.
successful magazines in the world, with a total
Did you ever encounter a critical junc-
We launched a nationwide search for
audience of nearly fi ve-million readers.
ture or doubt the magazine’s direction
new material, new design and new design-
Design Trade Magazine recently had the
and, if so, how did you stay on course?
ers with a series of Open Auditions that
opportunity to learn a bit more about the
took us around the country.
I’ve never doubted the magazine’s direc-
legend responsible for shaping Architectural
We started in New York last October.
tion, although there have been critical junc-
Digest, past, present and future.
Over 500 applicants lined up around the
tures to which we’ve reacted with success. In
D&D building. T_h ey came from as far
Today, AD continues to dominate an
the late ‘80s when the housing market dried
away as the Philippines, Australia, Venezu-
increasingly crowded interior design pub-
up, there was a concern about lack of inven-
ela, Mexico and Japan.
lishing world. In addition to your leader-
tory. T_h at presented an editorial challenge.
We were fortunate to fi nd 20 outstand-
ship, how do you account for the maga-
We met that challenge by featuring great
ing designs. T_h en, we posted them on our
zine’s long-term success?
design from diverse, and perhaps surprising
Web site so that the public could choose.
sources – everything from cars and hotels
T_h e magazine’s policy has always been to
to resorts and yachts. We were so delighted
Looking back, tell us about one of
report fi rst and exclusively. I’ve stuck to my
with readers’ response that we continue the
your favorite AD issues. Is there a home
convictions about what Architectural Digest
tradition today.
that stands out as a personal favorite
is – what kind of magazine, how it should
over the years? And, if so, why?
look and read – and what content belongs
Take us through your typical work day
in the book. I’ve always strived for variety
at AD. How do you spend your time?
I really couldn’t pick out a favorite. T_h ere
of subject, location and style.
What part of your work drives and ener-
have been too many to choose from. What
If you trace the magazine’s evolution-
gizes you?
I do love is any house – or car – or boat
ary stepping stones: designers allowing us
– or resort with really great design.
T_h ere is no typical workday. T_h ere are
into their own homes (the fi rst was An-
many long days – days in which I’ll meet with
For additional information visit
gelo Donghia), celebrity-at-home access,
designers on new projects and brainstorm
www.architecturaldigest.com.
Summer / Fall Issue

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