This wry smiling guy is a master of his art. Ieoh Ming Pei, a Chinese American architect. The use of glass, the combination of various geometric shapes, the simplicity and the finesse in details (like for example hand rails which are carved in stone) and how he utilizes natural light to play with shadows – how can someone create such wonderful things? The probably most famous Pei building is the glass pyramid for the Louvre – which is not my favourite to be honest. Too much steel for my liking. I love the buildings for which he used this special light-beige natural stone (unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the name of the stone). Visit the Deutsche Historische Museum, or the German Historical Museum in Berlin if you have the chance. It is amazing. I’ve been lucky to get to write about it for a German magazine before it was reopened in 2003. But of course I didn’t get to talk to I.M. Pei himself, but to his German representative – quite a stiff and arrogant lady, who supported me reluctantly I have to say. Thank God she happened to know our photographer (and obviously liked him), so eventually I got all the really interesting information (and pictures) through him. But actually all this doesn’t really matter, you don’t need to know anything about I.M. Pei (even though the story of his life – I believe his family roots go back to the Ming dynasty – may be quite interesting). Just visit his buildings if you can and be stunned and inspired!
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin.
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.
(Source of images: various. I had saved all those images on my computer ages ago. Please let me know if you happen to know the source of any of these pictures.)