It is Sunday evening, and I have had an absolutely wonderful week. After working hard for a Friday deadline on my first independent project (Communique New Headquarters, Seoul), I have had a quiet weekend with some time to relax and recuperate from the intensity of the last few days.
Today I cooked a beautiful meal for Linda Lloyd-Jones (head of exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum), and David Lloyd-Jones (pioneer of sustainable architectural design in the United Kingdom). The menu included a selection of French cheeses and sausage, quince, and champagne; Italian bresaola beef drenched in olive oil with black peppercorns and fresh mozzarella, garnished with rocket and pomodorino tomatoes; halved baby gem lettuce with pan fried prawns and soft boiled duck egg, drizzled with spicy honey mustard dressing, and dark chocolate ganache with whipped cream and clementine wedges.
Linda and David are in their sixties, and spending more time with them is part of our family effort to cultivate a more diverse group of friends from all generations and all parts of society. In a way, enjoying wonderful food and finding inspiration from the way they live their lives is just as much about broadening my perspective as are these letters to you. Stepping away from the intensity of design to find harmony and joy through conversation and a shared meal reminds me of the importance of mental tranquillity and stability in our lives and work. I found myself wondering whether we designers could work with that same lightness, joy, and freedom as we design, rather than putting ourselves underthe typical enormous pressure to excel? I was not surprised that the hours I spent working after they left were incredibly productive.
The teleconference with Communique on Friday was a small victory noteworthy for this letter. Through the process of working diligently for the client, maintaining an honest and reasonable dialogue, we have naturally increased the scope of the project to include the reconstruction of the whole façade of the building. Our conversation led the client to realise that rather than spending fifty million won to mask the façade with cheap and short-lived materials, it would be better to spend perhaps sixty or seventy million on a durable, high-performance façade that would last for decades.
In other news, I have started my AD magazine 2050: Designing Our Tomorrow article, which will be my 35-years-from-now self critiquing my work today.
All best wishes, your grandfather. 19 October, 2014. London.