Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Interplay of Light and Shade

Col was an architect.

To say that he wasn't eminent in the eyes of his peers would be something of a significant understatement. In today's parlance (or was it yesterday's?) he wasn't cool. His designs weren't cool either, in fact in a professional sense they were rather lacking to the extent of being devoid of any component which could even be considered to be slightly sophisticated or elegant.

Col was so uncool, that he wore floral shirts tucked out, before tucked out was thought of, and one could just tell that they hid trousers that were worn at a level too far above the waist to make the pages of Vanity Fair. If he were around today, he'd be a nerd, a wealthy nerd I suspect, because he seemed to have a keen eye for a commercial deal, and what appeared to be a well run business, but a nerd none the less.

Bill was also an architect.

Bill reeked cool in a sort of architectural sophisticated manner that would have had him wearing a bow tie if open necked shirts weren't so much more appropriate to the coastal business environment. He was the only person I had ever heard of who had a Citroen Palais which he'd bought new. In those days the Citroens I knew only came second-hand, as if "new" was something the factory hadn't figured out how to build, but he had one and it beautifully offset his perfectly archetypal life. It looked perfect parked beside his slate lined pool, set in the tropical gardens which harmonised beautifully with the elegance of the parquet in his living room, clearly visible through full height frameless glazing.

Bill's designs were as cool as his cream silk shirts, and as president of the Institute of Architects, he was held by his peers with a certain amount of respect. He was altogetherly too arrogant, and as if to offset his undoubted talent in his chosen profession, was something less than well endowed with business acumen.

One evening, at a meeting of the Institute, their diametrically opposed paths crossed.

Col had just attended the opening of his latest project, another meaningless building, probably quite suitable for its purpose, but with no redeemable features in an architectural design sense at least, apart from the remarkable fact that it was constructed beneath an enormous golf ball which hovered somewhat precariously on a tee which sprung from the middle of the building's roof, leaving absolutely no doubt as to the intended function of the building.

"Tell me Col", inquired Bill, with a glass of orange juice in his hand,

"Was it the interplay of light and shade?

The juxtaposition of form perhaps?

Does it reflect a simplicity in the structure that remains unseen beyond the building fabric?

What exactly was your philosophy behind that thing on the roof?"

"You can think whatever you like, Bill", came the instant reply,

"I got six percent of the cost of that thing."


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