Where the Past Meets the Future

Having grown up in Cracow, Poland, a home to a 650-years-old university and a town where the oldest still standing building dates back to the eleventh century, I have a particularly soft spot for tradition and the legacy of the days long gone. On the other hand, having worked in one of the fastest changing industries—that of design—where technologies evolve and morph, and where new tools become old news in a matter of months or even weeks, I also have a deep appreciation for progress and technology. There is no tension in my mind between the two, and I endeavor to make room for both, for I believe we have much to learn from those who came before us if we are to leave a meaningful legacy behind us for those who will follow.

To my great enjoyment the Triangle region, where I moved just a few months ago, represents the very ideals of tradition and progress combined, and one can find evidence of this symbiotic coexistence of the two all around. How brilliant to have repurposed old factories and warehouses to house preeminent firms in leading industries and inspiring arts centers. How clever to have dreamed up and created a research-oriented center as a sustainable economic model for the twenty-first century. How insightful to design the future of cities by investing in revitalization of their hearts—the downtown areas.

Here in the Triangle, we are immersed in a bustling lifestyle that embraces both traditional and modern sensibilities through performing arts, exhibitions, art fairs, and festivals; through participation in cutting edge technological developments; through access to major academic institutions and to continuing education opportunities. In the few months I have lived here, I have seen art shows, strolled along art walks and fests, danced to African rhythms in the middle of a shopping mall, taken classes in calligraphy, participated in drawing activities, attended workshops on responsive web design, jQuery, and Sass, and picked strawberries. Life doesn’t get better than that!

So it is in this spirit of a joyous contemplation of the heritage and the prospects—in individual and in collective terms—that I look forward to the AIGA Raleigh celebration of the hundred years of design to culminate in September with the AIGA Centennial Party. And I am proud to call the Triangle region—where the past meets the future—my new home.

By Basia Coulter
Published June 12, 2014