I am back in London after a dizzying site trip to Korea. This has been a week of mustering energy and regrouping for the ongoing campaign. Also of note is that this week I registered my practice at Companies House as a Limited Company.
When I first read Ove Arup’s Key Speech, describing his philosophy of design and philosophy of life to his colleagues, I remember being struck by the amount of time he dedicated to management, money, and other mundane practicalities of company administration. Over the years, I have come to appreciate the importance of that thinking. Taking our ideals and turning them into reality requires coordination and organisation as much as it requires philosophy and beliefs. And as I issue myself the first one hundred shares of my company, I already think about management structures that might allow me to attract the most talented and ambitious people, and build with them a company and a home worth growing and protecting for this generation and the next.
Last weekend our guests for lunch were Cynthia Oakes and Hattie Hartman and Josué Tanaka. All three of them are friends through our Princeton connection, and with them we had a delightful meal and long walk around the flower market and the farm. Hattie and Josué are real kindred spirits to us, having devoted much of their professional energy to sustainability and the built environment, much as we hope to do. Cynthia is a woman of enormous energy and a knack for discovering kindred spirits who don’t know one another yet. She took great pleasure in introducing us to Hattie and Josue some time ago at her home.
The conversation ranged from updates about my projects in Korea, to humorous anecdotes about eccentric people Josué has met during his years at the European Bank, to thorny questions of how much concern we in London should have for those in the more distant corners of the United Kingdom. Although decades have passed since any of us sat in the dining halls at Princeton, the meal was very much like the ones I remember from my university days.
Those of us who attended Princeton are bound together by the common threads of intellectual curiosity, drive for excellence, and desire to shape the world in which we live. Two hundred and sixty-nine years of graduates have woven a rich tapestry of lives and work. Arup founded his company sixty-nine years ago, and it is still going strong. I do believe that to have a rich and lasting impact, we must not rest just on our idealistic principles, but find those very practical ways in which to administer them and grow them over time.
With my warmest wishes to you. Your grandfather. 1 February 2015.