Editors' Picks

Best of 2016

Our editors select their favorite stories from this year.

Our editors select their favorite stories from this year.

"Beartooth Porta" by Ensamble Studio. (Photo: Alexis Pike)

Tippet Rise
“This is a piece about otherness and ghosts. Rachel Syme doesn’t merely present impressive sculptures on heavenly, isolated plains or a straight profile of  the people who put them there, but activates the reader’s senses. It’s a story that might require a sequel.”
Charles Curkin, Senior Editor


The pottery studio at Anderson Ranch. (Photo: Blake Gordon/Surface)

Anderson Ranch
“I can’t pick just one. One project I enjoyed a lot this year was the Gallery featuring poems inspired by notable 20th-century architecture and design sites in Detroit. Other personal highlights included profiling Nike CEO Mark Parker and interviewing Kanye West. The story that really stood out to me above all, though, was Sheila Marikar’s feature on the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado. Paralleling two vastly disparate but connected realms of Aspen—the über-rich and the creative community—Marikar captures the inherent tensions therein, but also looks at the wonders of Anderson Ranch, which is a truly special place for supporting art making and new ideas.”
Spencer Bailey, Editor-in-Chief


(Photo: Dani Vernon and Scott Burry)

Cocktail Code: Silicon Valley Giants on the Rocks
“My favorite Surface article this year was ‘Cocktail Code: Silicon Valley Giants on the Rocks.’ It was a blast to see the apps I use everyday playfully reimagined as cocktails, and the merging of drinks and tech was also a pleasant reminder to keep my own internet use low-key. After all, social media is supposed to be social. I’ll drink to that.”
Moira Donegan, Copy Editor


At the Maderas Collective workshop in Nicaragua (Photo: Stefan Wigand)

Maderas Collective
“Our travel editor, Nate Storey, makes you feel as if you’re right alongside him on his trip to Nicaragua to explore the Maderas Collective, a furniture manufacturer dedicated to quality and beauty in its designs, as well as social and environmental responsibility in its operations. It’s clear they’re not a company spouting sustainababble bullshit. I respect that.”
Lily Wan, Assistant Managing Editor


(Photo: Courtesy Franklyn)

High Designs
“As more states sanction recreational marijuana, I hope independent growers can hold their own against large companies getting into the business. With that in mind, it’s a great time to revisit the diverse results of our invitation to 12 design studios to create an identity for a marijuana brand.  Sprankles (by Franklyn) are still known to trigger laughing fits around the office.”
William Hanley, Digital Director


Oxman at work in the lab. (Photo: Tony Luong)

Neri Oxman Is Redesigning the Natural World
“This article hit home for me because of Oxman’s efforts to make solutions for a dying world through the natural environment. She’s a risk taker and she’s not at all afraid of failing. That, plus she’s a triple threat: biodegradable, beautiful, and brainy as hell.”
Antwan Duncan, Digital Producer


Josie Alonzo at home in Havana. (Photo: Lisette Poole)

Havana Rising
“Big year for Cuba. Big things ahead. And this story captured all of it.”
James Vincent, Studio Manager


October cover star Richard Branson. (Photo: Lucy Hewett)

Richard Branson Takes Us Into Orbit
“The cover feature from our October issue actually made me laugh out loud. (I think it was the idea of Branson teasing our senior editor, Charles Curkin, into believing he was inventing a pill that prolongs the average human lifespan by 200 years.) On top of that, the photographer did an incredible job capturing both Branson’s character and his humor in the portraits—even though she only had 15 minutes with him.”
Dani Vernon, Photo Editor


An aerial view of Flamengo park in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Donatas Dabravolskas)

Destination: Rio
“As the city prepared to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, we looked at its booming architecture and culture scene.”
Nate Storey, Travel Editor


(From left): Bag, Lanvin. Boot, Céline. (Photo: Greg Marino)

Deep Thoughts
“Despite the fact that this accessories story was a still-life photo shoot, we established a very clear narrative. The brief was to capture the mood of a girl from the mid to late 1970s who is quite fabulous, but a little sad. We wanted to evoke the feeling of dreary Sunday, just as summer turns into fall. The photographer, Greg Marino, brought it to life with sullen but beautiful lighting and rich surfaces.”
Courtney Kenefick, Fashion Editor

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