Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another case for an irreverent design opinion

My boss Frank Stasiowski wrote in his book, How to Get the Best Clients at the Highest Fees, “If you really want to differentiate yourself from the competition and get the highest price for your design ideas, commit yourself to a controversial, even irreverent, opinion about some aspect of a particular solution on a particular project type. This is the ultimate differentiator. It’s risky, and it will turn some clients off. But it will attract clients who agree with you, or are intrigued by your opinion — the very clients you want to work with.”

At least once a week, I am reminded of Frank’s words. This week’s example comes from the new China Central Television building in Beijing. According to Tim Johnson of McClatchey Newspapers, the structure is “an audacious monolith that looks like two drunken high-rise towers leaning over and holding each other up at the shoulders.” Not exactly high praise, but does it need to be?

Deng Xuexian, a professor of architecture at Tsinghua University reminds us that “the Sydney Opera House was criticized by many people, even members of Parliament. However, it has become a landmark construction of Australia.”

Rocco Yim, a Hong Kong architect who sat on the jury in 2002 that selected the winning design for the tower said, "It captures the spirit of the country at this point in time, a really daring spirit to look into the future and try the impossible".

Nobody knows how the structure will be regarded in the future: but one thing is for sure –people are talking about it and will be for quite some time – and at the end of the day, what more can a designer hope for?


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