SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- For the past year, Dwell has been quietly building a world-class team under CTO Bobby Gaza – former Beats Music and Apple VP. That team—now making up more than one third of the brand's human resources—has been dedicated to building a wholly new collaborative technology platform, powering an interest network. Every person at Dwell, however, has supported the pivot from media to technology company. Today, Dwell's new platform comes out of beta and moves to dwell.com, as the company also launches its first in-house developed iPhone app. With publishing and social tools built right in, it allows users to like, share, comment, discover, connect, and collaborate within and alongside Dwell's award-winning content.
At launch, the new digital destination will have a library of over 300,000 iconic images to provide context for conversation, with users able to add to the repository from the web, mobile and iPhone application. In addition to creating fresh content for the new platform and expanding upon coverage in the magazine, the editors will be busy curating the site's content and surfacing favorite images in 'Photos We Love.' In this digital age, Dwell recognizes consumer fatigue with product inundation and information overload. Maintaining Dwell's voice throughout the platform with a curatorial hand is something the team feels strongly will be both unique in the space and essential to its success. "The team and I have built enough online communities to know that it's not surfacing everything that creates value for the user, but making the very best easily accessible," says Dwell CTO Bobby Gaza. "At Beats Music, that meant not getting bogged down by millions of songs, but developing tools that made the best tens of thousands of songs readily available to individual users in a way that felt special and intuitive. With Dwell, we believe it's incredibly important to maintain a high level of human touch, even as we use technology to refine the experience."
Dwell was the first in media to devote entire issues to user-generated content (UGC) with 'Your Rooms We Love' special issues in 2015 and 2016, which showcased the projects and photo submissions of its audience. Unsurprising for a brand that has put the community at the center of its business model since 2000, but this new digital destination puts a decisive stake in the UGC ground with publishing and social tools that allow for immediate, meaningful sharing and engagement. "We've placed a great deal of value in user-generated content and the voice of the design community," says Dwell editor-in-chief and executive vice president of content Amanda Dameron, "and have never shied away from input or criticism." With Dameron leading editorial content and curation of UGC, the platform will also give voice to a legion of design devotees. "Dwell has always been dedicated to raising the level of design discourse, and now we'll not only bring to the forefront design issues of import as told by Dwell, but also elevate the significant contributions of our community."
To that end, Dwell recognizes that the sensibilities of an individual in the most personal environment, the home, don't end there but are drawn through every facet of modern life. To broaden its design scope, the brand will make a mission shift from 'At Home in the Modern World' to 'Connecting the Modern World' and include lifestyle coverage across print and digital—of course, through the Dwell lens. While not uncharted territory for Dwell, the new exploration will also mean a redesign of the magazine in 2017. It will be untethered by issue themes and make room for regular content that examines transportation, hospitality, commercial, and fashion, as well as a deeper dive into the lives of the professionals and homeowners behind the projects. "The kernel of the stories featured in print is evergreen, they're issues that never go away," says Dameron, "and this new platform gives us so much more power to work. It allows us the opportunity and the freedom to dive deeper into stories and garner feedback from the community on a continuous loop if we choose, and as the story and the community dictate. That's incredibly exciting to us."
While the end-to-end user experience will include annotations and a design catalog that will make sourcing products seamless, contextualized commerce is not the end goal. Dwell is betting that building social tools into new platforms will more and more become industry status quo, as it allows for users to engage in the behaviors they find most rewarding. What's unique about this new approach is that users can immediately engage and interact within and alongside Dwell's award-winning content. The impetus for creating such an immersive destination came from submissions, feedback emails, and myriad audience interactions, which made it clear that users not only want to know where they can buy a product or how they can hire a design professional, but also the story behind the design process, the ability to connect with other design enthusiasts, and details on where the materials come from, among other things.
With a powerful new platform that pulls through lifestyle topics that are resident in the discussion of good design, Dwell is laying the groundwork for aggressive development of services and content distribution, with plans that include deeper expansion into real estate, travel, and television. "While the platform officially launches today, early signs signal its incredible potential to serve the global design community," says Dwell president and CEO Michela O'Connor Abrams. "There are myriad applications for this technology and untapped interests that can be much more deeply explored and connected online. And, while the vastness of the Internet can seem overwhelming, you'd be hard-pressed to find a destination that has successfully surfaced all of the best pieces of information about a particular topic. By putting the best publishing tools in the hands of our editors and social tools in the hands of our users, we're positioning Dwell to be that destination for good design. From there, the conversation and the experience will continue to grow."
The Dwell App is available for free on the App Store for iPhone.
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