Editor's Letter: Air Play

Editor's Letter: Air Play

When I sat down to choose the houses and construct a theme for this issue, I started thinking about sun and light, looking for houses that extended that feeling of summer just a little bit longer. I figured after another year of lockdowns and confinement, that might be a nice way to approach it. 

A little caveat here: with almost every issue, I start in one place and wind up in another. I’ve learned to roll with it, to let the houses, in all their varied glory, tell the story. People ask me what the theme is an issue or two down the track and I look a little baffled, which I think they take as disorganisation, but which is really me knowing it will change. 

As usual, the first idea lasted until a couple of days before the magazine went to print.

Something wasn’t working. I couldn’t make it click. The first couple of editor’s letters were hopeless and every cover line felt lame. Here comes the sun. Let the sunshine in! Suuuuun-shiiiiine. God no. I even took to googling “phrases with sun in them” which is never a particularly good sign. 

I did a lap of the house. It was hot. Sticky. A classic February afternoon in muggy old Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. 

Still nothing. 

I gave up, shut down the computer and got up the next morning before everyone else, the sound of the waking city around me, rising traffic on the Northwestern Motorway coming up the hill because the wind – annoyingly – has been in the north for a few days.


And something struck me: it wasn’t about sun. It was about air. Every house in the collection is open in some way to the elements, but specifically to the open air. They celebrate being outside or being inside with the windows open, but they also celebrate outdoor connections – in several cases, open air between rooms or buildings where you are forced to feel the air on your face, even in winter. 

The appeal is hardly surprising. Open houses are part of our DNA, but we also spent the end of last year entertaining outside; we’ve spent the beginning of this year being told to make sure our rooms are well ventilated, and to be in the open air where possible to slow the spread of Omicron. If air-conditioning wasn’t already something to be suspicious of, it’s even more so now. 

Even now that we’re allowed inside, we’d rather be out, and that is actually quite delightful – maybe it’s something we should all hang on to.


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