Interpreting a visionary’s vision

This is the time of the year when we all look back at the past few months, make some reflections and try to anticipate the trends for 2019.

However, I would like to use the opportunity of this blog to remember philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who passed away on October 15. I had the privilege to work for Paul, designing his beloved H Club in Hollywood, California, due to open next month.

A rendering of the H Club in Hollywood, California
A rendering of the H Club in Hollywood, California

When such a charismatic figure, the true drive of all the design, is sadly not with us anymore, first grief and sadness come along, then thoughts on human fragility flow naturally.

Where does the ultimate value of design lie, what is the meaning of months of discussions, meetings, presentations, where creativity tries to find a way to balance all the challenges? Was it all worth it?

I can say, for this specific project, it was. When I started the work it seemed almost impossible, due to Paul’s endless activities, to even think of meeting him or have a dialogue if not through his management.

But I was wrong. He was passionate about the project – an artist himself with a love of music, he was a great listener and an acute observer. Typical of him, he wanted to enter every single room of the hotel created by virtual reality, pushing technology beyond today’s limitations. His drive was infectious.

This is where the vision of Paul plays a vital role, because it goes beyond the mere aesthetics and functionality of the building.

The ultimate goal for the club is to become the new home for L.A. artists and facilitate the flow of creativity and cultural exchange, and to give exposure to new, young talents. The choice of a fabric, the volume of a room, a pattern on the floor, all the design choices have been made to create an environment where creativity can flourish.

A design that facilitates human emotions, a remarkable aspiration.

Shouldn’t this be always one of the priorities for a designer?

I’m grateful to have been let interpreting Paul’s vision with such freedom and encouragement; we will all dearly miss him.