Sam Grawe: New direction at Dwell mag

“Dwell has brought a European sensibility to the U.S.,” said Sam Grawe, 29, who was recently appointed editor-in-chief of Dwell magazine. To Grawe, that means design that is simple and sports clean lines. “It’s everything from Ikea to Cappellini,” he said.

Dwell, whose name comes both from “dwelling,” a place where people live, and “to dwell on a subject,” is an architecture and design magazine. It has been in print since 2000 and has a circulation of 300,000.

The magazine earned the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2005, among others. Grawe, who started at the magazine as an editorial assistant in 2000, was appointed editor-in-chief in November.

According to Grawe, the magazine tries to focus on places like Baton Rouge, Kansas City and Milwaukee, outside of the classic centers of design.

“Dwell’s really given voice to a community that’s always existed but hasn’t always had a voice,” he said. “People are very passionate about it.”

One important aspect of that voice is sustainability. Each issue of Dwell has an “Off the Grid” department focused on sustainability; one issue each year is devoted entirely to the subject.

“The message we’re trying to get across is that sustainable design is just good design,” he said.

In addition to maintaining the magazine, Web site, conferences and TV shows that are all part of Dwell LLC, of which Grawe considers himself a “steward,” he hopes to add short-form video to the Web site and launch a department focusing on what people do with rental properties.

“Our goal is to make architecture and design approachable,” Grawe said. The video would include construction footage of people completing their own projects and “what normal people are doing,” he said.

Grawe graduated from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., in 1998 with a degree in art and art history. In addition to his new job as editor, he is a member of the electronic band Windsurf, a group whose music he describes as “cosmic disco music.”

Prior to working at Dwell, Grawe worked for The Burdick Group, where he wrote museography for Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Museum. He has also written for Wired and Nylon magazines.

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