Sad news of the loss of Will Alsop, a great designer and incredible character
On Thursday last week, I met with an old friend with whom I’ve shared some crazy adventures over the years whilst I was working in cause related communications, at a time when I was first finding my professional feet in London.
My friend herself, is an incredibly charismatic, irresistible character and I’d often found myself carrying her bags to some frankly extraordinary encounters.
We were lamenting the various people who’s paths we crossed together. Not always for the right reasons. All remarkable in some small way, and usually hilarious. Her own gravitas pulled in some serious artists, designers politicians and other erstwhile and enduring folk during the time that we worked together.
Our conversation turned as it often does when we catch up, to a man we’d met and shared time and dinner with on a number of occasions near his offices in Battersea. The last of which was eight or ten years ago. The meetings were always challenging, raucous fun and always accompanied by obscene volumes of wine, often followed by brandy and always paced by two or three packets of cigarettes.
Our host was called Will Alsop OBE RA. A world famous architect responsible the design of Peckham Library and some of the most extraordinary and controversial, important, always wonderfully imaginative architectural designs of the last couple of decades.
I remember the three of us first meeting in his offices next to the desk of his number two, who unusually wasn’t an architect but a student of fine art. The arrangement looked more art studio, than office, with perspex substrates, acrylic and oil paints, brushes and markers strewn about the place.
After our catch up my friend then quite unusually contacted me a few days later on the Monday to let me know she’d just seen news of Will Alsop's death after a short illness.
Whilst I couldn’t have known him greatly, or even imagine that he’d remember the meetings much, I certainly do remember them and the timing of the conversations with my old friend just last week has made the loss of this great character feel deeply moving. I felt the need to write something and share it here in tribute to his free spirit and a designer who’s inspiring, playful and imaginative ideas will always be a huge inspiration to me in my work and personal life.
As tributes flood in from a number of his friends, colleagues and critics , please take the time to google his work and enjoy a few words and pictures about the life and work of a wonderful character who will continue to be discussed, lauded and celebrated, and will inspire me and so many for many generations to come.