Considered Obsessiveness —
Being Driven to Deliver the Tiniest Detail

It is often acknowledged that the best lives just like the worst lives are driven lives. On the one hand we idealise the artist, the lover, a person with a passion for justice, and on the other hand we fear the addict, the workaholic, the person who is driven to ruin his life at the expense of others. This is so often conveniently compromised with the word "balance" in which mediocrity and blandness so easily lurks in that yawning PowerPoint.

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Crazing (no such word) an idea into being requires this mad tension, and, relevance of course is the sanity necessary to make that idea useful. It is an intuitive experience. They have to be coaxed by the little madness in us all. The trick is not to be scared of it.

A world comes towards you and you spot the tiniest detail of imperfection, which demands your attention. It provokes your obsession and at 3 AM your project begins. For the balance of the week you can't think of anything else. Having cracked the idea you then need a considered approach to commercialise it. These early morning urges are a kind of wet dream with a difference. They go beyond whim and gnaw away at you until you have managed to convince someone else about your fabulous idea.

 John Powson

John Powson

 Designed by John Powson

Designed by John Powson

I have much admired the considered obsessiveness of John Pawson the Yorkshire born architect and his incredible attention to detail cathedrals. Among the handful of architects working today who could be called purists, few names are more venerated. The minimalist spaces he designs, whether a boutique for Calvin Klein on Madison Avenue ,sailing yachts or a  monastery for Cistercian monks in the Czech Republic, all offer a singular interpretation of austerity that still manages to feel utterly luxurious.