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Inspiration Profile: Jeremy Hansen

Welcome to what I hope will become a staple to the pages of this blog. It is an exciting and new feature called Inspiration Profile.
When one works in the creative field, inspiration is so important to our work. I know when my work does not come together as well as it should, it's because I'm not inspired. This may be due to a variety of reasons and it is at these times that I step away from the desk and let myself be inspired by people, places, books, magazines, blogs and other influences.
I decided to ask a range of creative people to find out what gets them inspired. To kick off this new feature is Jeremy Hansen, Editor of HOME New Zealand.

Jeremy Hansen

Summer issue of HOME New Zealand.

Name: Jeremy Hansen

What do you do: I’m a writer and editor, and I’ve been editing HOME New Zealand magazine for six years.

Where do you live: Auckland, New Zealand

What are you working on: Right now, we’re finalising our February/March issue, which makes art its focus: artists, collectors, and the places they live.

The stylish pages of HOME New Zealand magazine.

Who/what inspires me: I’m a journalist by training, but I’ve always been inspired by architecture, so I feel lucky to have a job that combines these two things. There’s an inherent optimism about architecture and urban design that I continue to find inspiring – that good, old-fashioned desire to make the world, or at least small parts of it, a better place.

I work best: If I knew the answer to this, I’d be a lot more productive! But I tend to write best when I’m at home, usually late at night.
What I do when I’m stuck for inspiration: Read anything good. I don’t have a TV, but I subscribe to a lot of magazines and buy plenty of books, so there’s always something distracting close at hand.
The best advice I have been given is: The fact that I can’t think of an answer to this question suggests I should listen more closely when advice is being offered.
My latest discovery is: A fascinating new book from Taschen, ‘Project Japan: Metabolism Talks’. Edited by Rem Koolhaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist, it’s a rich collection of interviews, photographs and opinion relating to the Metabolism movement in Japanese architecture. I’ve always been intrigued by the otherworldliness of the Metabolists’ creations, and this book is helping me understand where the movement came from and why it petered out.  
Books that I get inspiration from: Lately, American writer and photographer Leslie Williamson’sHandcrafted Modern’, a beautiful photographic tour of the homes and studios of mid-century modernist architects, designers and craftspeople. All of the buildings in the book are wonderfully warm and humane.

The  pages of HOME New Zealand have recently undergone a re-design.

Magazines that inspire me: I like 'New York' magazine for its smart pop-culture liveliness. The high-wire inventiveness of the homes featured in Japan’s ‘Casa Brutus’ is always inspiring. I’m always happy when my copy of ‘Architectural Record’ arrives in the mailbox – it consistently features a range of the world’s most exciting projects. I like ‘Dwell’ a lot, too, for its promotion of accessible prefab architecture and its determination to inspire its readers to build in a more environmentally sensitive way. Italy’s ‘Case da Abitare’ is always immaculately put together. I’m watching Margaret Russell’s transformation of ‘Architectural Digest’ with interest – she appears to be rapidly modernising it, moving it away from its d├ęcor-and-drapes fustiness towards a cleaner approach, with a greater emphasis on architectural content. And I always enjoy the energy and eclecticism of Australia’s ‘Vogue Living’.
Blogs that I enjoy: I read very few, I have to confess. For me, print is still king. But I like Decor Extremus , in which Douglas Lloyd Jenkins and Peter Wells muse on their very particular approaches to interiors at their villa in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. The great New Zealand potter Bruce Martin has a very thoughtful and inspiring blog, Kamaka Pottery. And at risk of sounding tragic, I regularly keep tabs on what Michelle Obama is wearing on Mrs O.
My favourite room at home is: I live in a 1915 apartment building in central Auckland, and I especially like sitting at our dining table. The table is a mid-century piece I inherited from my grandmother, and from it I can look across our balcony, with its elegant, dark-green wrought-iron railings, to the plane trees across the street. It’s a breezy, restful space that hovers three floors above the life of the street outside.
My office is: A little bit embarrassing – we’re part of a large magazine company, and our office has that anonymous 1990s corporate feel, with primary colour panels that are meant to make us feel cheerful. Plus, my desk is a shambles.
What am I looking forward to: Next month I go on the road with Canadian architect Brian MacKay-Lyons and New Zealand architect Michael O’Sullivan to judge HOME New Zealand’s annual Home of the Year award. We visit homes all over the country in search of our winner. Being out of the office visiting great works of New Zealand architecture with two people who know much more about the subject than I do mean it’s always the best week of the year.
Want to find out more about HOME New Zealand magazine? Check out their blog here and their Facebook page here.

Photographs used with permission from HOME New Zealand and Jeremy Hansen.

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