Saturday, January 25, 2020

NY missive no 165 - Deep and up

In so many contexts I've been in, there's a tension between those who want to go up and big, and those who want to go deep. Both are important. Creating strong connections between the two is a real art form, and so often a missed opportunity.

Windows and doors

On Tuesdays last year I had a routine during JNH's guitar class, of drinking a glass of wine in Omonia cafe on Broadway. The guitar school was right above Omonia. It became a habit to the extent that the waitress would say "your usual?", and "it's been so long!" when I missed a few weeks. A precious window of time during which I'd sit by the window, with a book to read or a notepad to write in, and look up out of that window to the street from time to time.

On one of those occasions, I realized that windows and doors could illustrate my philosophy of life and work, if I ever got around to having one.

Windows for the way that they put a frame around a part of the world and prompt you to reflect on what that frame contains. Looking through a different window provides a different perspective, a different take, and your life takes it in and becomes richer.

There's a wonderful New Yorker profile of Jorn Utzon who designed the Sidney Opera House. At one of the homes he designed in Majorca, Can Lis, he included slit-like niches alongside each other overlooking the ocean, instead of a single window, so that a ship sailing by would appear, disappear, reappear, disappear, reappear. How simple and beautiful.

And doors for the way that we don't know what to expect before we open them. Doing so reveals the unexpected. The more new windows and doors we find to look and walk through, the better.