Have you ever noticed when a place or space is fully designed to when it is not, where each object relates to its immediate surroundings and the immediate surroundings relate to the overall space painting a complete picture?
We attended a lecture recently that featured a new book released on the career of Finnish-American Architect Eero Saarinen. The speaker mentioned that Mr. Saarinen enjoyed describing his work in that way. He spoke often about entering a place he designed describing it as feeling harmonious.
Mr. Saarinen was a highly trained Architect with many years of experience. His exacting nature and attention to detail, form and the relationship between the parts and their whole was inherent in his nature as an Architect and the interesting thing is that Mr. Saarinen was not limited by scale. He took the same approach to a designing piece of furniture as he did for his buildings.
Do you notice if a space, place or object was that well thought through? Is there a subconscious understanding of harmony when it works?
Do you sense it?
The next time you are in a building or public space close your eyes for a few seconds. When you open them take a good look around.
How does it feel to you?
Can you see the nuanced relationship between the parts that make it whole?
That analogy, to me, is similar to how a conductor or musician hears music or a sommelier can discern the subtle differences in a bottle of wine.
A trained ear, a trained palate or a trained eye.
As professionals we all have certain learned skills which give us an advantage in our daily lives but the beautiful thing is that we can’t be experts at everything. We can try many things, passionately enjoy hobbies that bring us happiness; however, we live with the notion that our expertise will be limited in some aspects of our lives because we choose to focus our effort in specific ways.
I truly believe anyone can learn whatever they choose to put their mind to.
Just not everything.
You may be a writer, an accountant, a graphic designer, an architect, a marketing professional, a coach whatever you do you have likely become an expert at it. Have you committed your 10,000 hours to your profession? If you work at 100% efficiency and full time for 50 weeks a year it will take you 5 years to become what Malcolm Gladwell calls an expert.
Only 5 years!!!
We all know that a level of efficiency and focus on any profession is not necessarily achievable at that level. It’s almost myopic to think so, however, if you have been focussed on doing your thing for any considerable amount of time you surely are close or have become an expert at it.
Mr. Saarinen practiced Architecture for about 25 years before his untimely death in 1961. Based on Mr. Gladwell’s estimation he was certainly an expert at Architecture.
My hobby is writing this blog.
If I consider the time I have researched blogging and written posts, interacted with other bloggers over the past 18 months to learn the art of blogging I would say I have spent less than a 1,000 hours blogging. Am I an expert blogger? Based on the numbers alone, not even close.
Did you notice (rhetorical question, of course)?
I am an expert of another kind though.
After 26 years working in the Interior Design profession I have gained the knowledge, objectivity and experience to understand whether a place is in harmony.
Perception and personal preference play into most decisions we make wouldn’t you agree?
That’s why, in many cases, we make the choices we do.
I often go back to the choice that comes with selecting a wine or beer. Most people enjoy either beverage and they know what they like. Can you (or do you even care) select the best in its class or inherently understand why one choice is better than another? Like many things in life we go with what we like or what tastes good to us but if a professional points out the nuances to you do you trust their judgment? Do you gain a better understanding or appreciation for the flavours?
Well, I don’t know about you but I sure do.
Are you always going to get an expert to advise you in the choices you make?
Probably not but I would guess that if you are making a big enough of an investment you may consider a professional to guide you through the process.
Enthusiasm and passion go a long way but there really is no substitute for real world experience.