A recent excavation in my office (an occasional activity, driven by the certain knowledge that I once did possess that particular long-lost piece of paper that I now so-desparately need) unearthed in passing a fascinating article that I clipped some time ago from the New Yorker, about Jorn Utzon, the Sydney Opera House architect.
“He developed his design by thinking about the various people who might inhabit such housing. He imagined the families in detail, writing short stories about them.”
Moving on: the architect used to tell ‘an anecdote about the Danish furniture designer Kaare Kilmt.
Someone comes to Klimt’s studio and asks him, “What are you working on?”
Klimt replies, “I’m working on a chair.”
Eighteen months later, the same man visits and again asks Klimt what he is working on.
“I told you,” Klimt says, “I’m working on a chair.”
And then my favourite of the quotes that I circled, and perhaps the most relevant to proposal readers. Construction of the magnificent Opera House was often fraught. As difficulties began to mount, Utzon “recalled something the engineer on the project, Ove Arup, had said to encourage him”:
“He said it is like when you climb Everest. You get a glimpse of Everest, and then it disappears. For a long time, all you see are the rows of hills in your way, and you can’t imagine that you will ever get there. And then, suddenly, you see Everest again, sparking in the sunshine.”