Saturday, October 06, 2012

Do we value brilliance?

There is some truth to that saying that travel broadens your mind.  Our recent getaway to Barcelona, certainly opened my mind to another world, one full of wonderful architecture and design.

I’m loath to confess this but prior to this trip, I’d never heard of Gaudi, yet his presence and buildings dominate the landscape in Barcelona.  Touring his not-yet-complete Bascilica of the Sagrada Familia was the highlight of the trip for me.

Perched on a hill, it looks down on the city, all majestic in its glory.  Once you get closer it is easy to get swept up in its grandeur, simplicity and structure which may sound like a contradiction in terms, but every detail and aspect of the building had been considered and covered, with complex and simple designs co-existing together.

But what is really amazing is that Gaudi who died in 1926, started building his dream cathedral over a hundred years ago and today it stands, almost complete, as a testament to his vision and forward-thinking. He was ahead of his times.

The building is breathtaking, with stain glass windows that are colourful, modern and meaningful.  Each scene in the windows depicts an aspect of nature – light, water, the sun, for example and Gaudi had left directions on the light he wanted to create in the building.

Despite being designed over a century ago, the building is modern and Gaudi wanted it to be a testament to all religions.  It was also to be a haven for those seeking peace and tranquility; a place where they could meditate and be at one with their spirituality.

We left the cathedral with a sense of awe and fascinated by the talents of Gaudi, made a point of visiting the other buildings he’d designed.   When he was tragically hit by a tram and died at the age of 70, he’d devoted  40 years of his professional life to pursuing his dream.  Much was written in the Spanish newspapers and it was like a royal funeral.  He was so revered by the Spanish people.

It does make you wonder whether we would show such respect to someone today who seemed so forward thinking.  Steve Jobs, maybe.  It makes me question whether  when someone is so talented, and so visionary in their dreams for the future, do we accept and support their ideas or do we dismiss or ridicule them? 

Food for thought.

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