Tuesday, February 17, 2009

sketches of frank gehry

I watched the documentary 'Sketches of Frank Gehry' last night - it was a wonderful insight into the work of such a creative architect and to hear some of the things that both he, and the director (Sydney Pollack) had to say about creativity and the creative process. One thing that particularly stuck in my mind was Gehry talking about how difficult it can be to actually start work. He describes cleaning his desk, making stupid appointments, avoidance, delay, denial - and admitting that he's scared he won't know what to do. But when he does actually start, he realises it wasn't so bad after all. Think I know how that feels! - waiting for everything to be just 'right' before starting anything, and clearing everything up first. Of course this is fear disguised as procrastination! There will never be the perfect time to start...Quite comforting in some ways to know that this affliction is not just my domain..

Seeing him at work with his assistants was an eye opener for me. I am very ignorant about the world of architects, and somehow assumed they worked in neat clean offices with computers - perhaps many do but not so Gehry. His studio had the feel of a sculptor's studio with 3D models everywhere. Scissors and card to hand, he and his colleagues played with shapes and forms, putting them together with sticky tape. It looked really fun. At one point Pollack asks Gehry, 'Do you think of architectural shapes unrelated to a job'? To which he fetches a Bosch reproduction he had on the wall and points out the compositional elements of the painting and then shows the floor plan of a building he is working on. Quite an insight. Although this was 'high art' influencing a design, he says later that you can look anywhere and find inspiration, citing an example of looking at the contents of a bin and noticing the shapes and forms. The other thing that was interesting was his drawings - mad squiggly sketches. Somewhere down the line some of these drawings, or ideas of drawings become buildings. Hurray for the scribble!

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