I heard a great line from a client the other day – “there’s no such thing as an over zealous brand manager”. Sweat the small stuff, and the big stuff. There is no doubt in my mind that our best work is not the result of presenting pearls to an easily pleased and appreciative audience. Rather the great stuff come from clients who challenge, ask for more and are far from easily pleased. It raises our game and results in more ambitious and bolder work. Nobody said it has to be a picnic.
As George Bernard Shaw had it: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
This was, by all accounts, a philosophy that inspired the man who commissioned the Shard. The Property developer Irvine Sellar took the famous architect Renzo Piano to lunch. “According to Sellar, the architect spoke of his contempt for tall buildings during the meal, before flipping over the restaurant’s menu and sketching an iceberg-like sculpture emerging from the River Thames. He was inspired by the railway lines next to the site, the London spires depicted by the Venetian painter Canaletto, and the masts of bygone sailing ships” (source:Wiki). Now we have an audacious new piece of architecture. It had to be good to get permission for building at such a height. After an inquiry the government released a letter stating “Mr Prescott would only approve skyscrapers of exceptional design. For a building of this size to be acceptable, the quality of its design is critical. He is satisfied that the proposed tower is of the highest architectural quality.” Even if the Shard is not your cup of tea, it’s hard to deny the ambition or the results that being unreasonable can create.
I guess, to mangle an adage, shoot for the moon. That way you might at least get to slip free of the gravitational pull of expedience that holds back good, but not great work. Have an unreasonably great Friday.