Friday, October 31, 2008


Does anyone remember when I mused about not knowing who Jean Nouvel was? Well. I need to give myself a big fat kick in the shins. Because he is a big freaking deal. He's a world-famous French architect who has designed hundreds of stunning buildings and recently won the Pritzker Prize. Opera houses, apartment buildings, museums, offices, restaurants… he has done them all, and they're always, let's be cliché here, breathtaking.

When I mentioned I was going to his book release, people were really impressed and expressed a tad bit of jealously. My host sister wondered if it would be totally ridculous to bring her portfolio with me (she just graduated from architecture school). My future roommate mentioned that she is doing her second internship in the Jean Nouvel office, but I'm not sure if she's met him before. This was actually a public event, and anyone was welcome. But I was the only one I knew that went.

His book was awesome, two volumes of photography highlighting all his work, with clever captions. It was also €500, so I didn't purchase it. And after I got there and snapped a few blurry photos, I really felt I should have him sign something. But I didn't bring a book. And I didn't want to buy something small and meaningless there. So I whipped out my Paris Moleskine and flipped to the back cover.

When it was finally my turn, I handed him my notebook. It's not a book, I told him, but this is where I keep all things France, all my thoughts and ideas. I said something about really liking the Lyon Opera house. He signed his name, for some reason wrote the date as 30/08/08, and then apologized for messing it up.

Now I am really excited about adding his buildings to my must-see list. And every time I see one, I will open my notebook. 'Look! Look!' I can tell anyone who is willing to listen. 'The same hand signed this notebook AND designed this building!'

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