A compass in the Eye…

The first time I heard this expression, fresh out of School at my new job, it came from the joyful but intransigeant voice of Robert Couturier, during the Spring of 1993, in New York.

It was about a correction to one of my drawings, done with a lead pencil on vellum: the center of a column, drawn in a 1/4” scale, was not perfectly aligned with the “trumeau” between windows on the other side of the room. At that time, I didn’t see that as being a huge problem as I wrongly assumed that someone would eventually correct this mistake on site during construction…

I am not sure what did upset me more that day. The fact that Robert just by glimpsing over my drawing could see that mistake immediately and called me lazy? Or the realization that each single little detail was essential, and that deep inside I was aware of it even before his comment. From that day, this feeling of being intransigeant never left me.

The following drawings, have been purposely selected and assembled without a particular order nor logic, as their point is not to illustrate a single project but different little anecdotes that all put together would be able to tell a story.

I deeply love this physical act of drawing “lines” on a drafting table, to carefully erase on vellum, and to force my hand over lines that are more relevant than others. It humbly makes me feel closer to the Masters Builders that through a stick in the sand, were able to precisely draw what should have been accomplished that day. No more, no less.! It is such a peaceful moment, a time of introspection that I am unable to find in front of a computer screen. But since I am very well aware of the time we live in, I have also added a few 3D renderings, done by our assistants. They represent the way our drawings will evolve in the future, in parallel with our traditional way of drafting, which shall remain are crafted and imperfect like an unsharpened pencil lead.

I would like to thank all the partners with whom I have been able to share different point of view through this beautiful tool that is drafting, and whom, throughout their understanding of these few “lines” helped my ideas become reality.

Piero Manara, November 2012