Without narrowing the content this list could be volumes long and include the likes of; Martin Luther & MLKing, Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie, J.S. Bach, Henry David Thoreau, Jackie Robinson, Simon Sinek’s TED talks and Team Hoyt. But I will slim this post to focus on Architecture and Interior Design…
Being in a creative profession one would like to think that it is completely internal combustion that drives design decisions. However, truth be known that inspiration is often a question of things our five senses gravitate to that influences the craft.
I have always preferred modernism to traditional art and architecture, I suppose it is partially due to our machine age, and how some materials have shelf standard dimensions and others are capable of being more pliable. But I believe that When moment came on family trip as a child to the National Art Museum in Washington D.C. Experiencing IM Pei’s East Building, complete with the works of Calder, Pollack and Picasso was other world to my growing up in suburbia Western Massachusetts. My world was moved by seeing the possibilities and how breaking out of the box was like hearing sweet music in my ears for the first time.
The Who includes (also others mentioned); Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier/Charlotte Perriand, Mies Van Der Rohe, Josep Lluis Sert, Carlo Scarpa, Zaha Hadid and Franklin Israel. These designers have always inspired me as their work is routed in simple geometries and minimal materials that embody strength and confidence. They successfully created buildings and space that consistently pushed conventionality but as a body of work has stood as landmarks is the greatest testimony of the smell factor that I hope my work will one day resemble.
What inspires me to design could be the lengthiest of questions to be answered. Parts reside in Renzo Piano & Richard Rogers for the honesty in the Pompidou Center’s machine expression. Glen Murcutt and Samual Mockbee (Rural Studio) for the integrity to stay true to their contextual roots and green design. As well as in Frank Lloyd Wright’s passion that would go so far as to supposedly inspire Ayn Rand’s, The Fountainhead.
Wright’s conviction and ability to blur the lines between nature and the built environment has proven inspirational. Fallingwater, Guggenhiem Museum and the Robie House projects continue to solidify his influence. I was particularly impressed when I had the opportunity to visit the Myer May House as a Steelcase award winning finalist in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Having the chance to place myself in their shoes at the dining room table, I was impressed how the lighting at the corner posts and the high back chairs created an intimate room within a room meant to bring the family together. Coupled with dishware and signature stained glass that developed a holistic solution. Seeing that kind attention paid to the details and how it can benefit the users is What I desire to achieve in every project… hopefully with a little more comfort.
The question of Where has been one of discovery, the unexpected causing the unescapable gripping feeling of being that is unattainable without actually present in the site. Few places have inspired me in this way but I have to explain it only as the sixth sense – that beyond normal perception. To mention a few; the Pantheon for its pure engineering-geometry feat and age (nearly 2000 years ago), the Mapparium for its incredible acoustics, and Antonio Gaudi’s work – specifically the stair at the Segrada Familia Church in Barcelona, because it narrows and feels like it growing/constricting as you climb. That sixth sense is not an official sense, but the power and impact is definitely inspirational.
Why do other designers inspire me? Some because of how they approach solutions; Charles and Ray Eames made extraordinary out of ordinary materials, Philippe Starck creates fun out of everything, and Tod Willliams-Billie Tsein’s courage to provide “a sense of grace to life – and believing that this (what we give and leave behind) matters”. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but inspiration and principals taste better when paired.
How does this profession answer life’s questions as we travel “into the light” (see David Adjaye, Tadao Ando and Steven Holl’s examples below). For me ultimately, it speaks to designing space for living, working, and playing that impacts our daily lives and give us a chance to perform to our potential. I hope that what inspires me (beyond the LEGOS I would play with on my living room floor when I was young), translates into something special built that touches others.