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December 1, 2009

Studio 707 on Sabbatical

At the 2004 TED Conference Heidi Swanson introduced me to the brilliant Austrian-born designer Stefan Sagmeister.  She was right to think that beginning with a shared interest in artist-environmentalist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Stefan and I would have a lot in common.

For me and apparently for himself, Stefan has proved a constant discovery process.   For example, two years ago when I called to ask him to direct the design of a hotel project I was involved in, Stefan expressed his regret explaining that he was closing his design studio for a sabbatical. It’s best if you hear how this works directly from Stefan: http://is.gd/582Bh

Then, the coupe de gras arrived serendipitously last September as a birthday gift from Sally Schneider , the book Stefan wrote after his most recent sabbatical, Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.”

Somewhere in the midst of random inspirations from Stefan, I gave my longtime friend Carl Doumani a birthday gift of three-weeks in Spain during which I shared the wondrous art, architecture and food world I’d discovered in my long, rich relationship with the Ferrer Family of the Freixenet wine empire.

At Carl’s insistence, the trip included a pilgrimage to Ferran Adria’s El Bulli. Standing in Adria’s kitchen with him at 1 a.m. after a 21-course culinary adventure, we listened to his passionate description of revitalizing his creative alchemy by working only half the year and experimenting the other half.

Possessed as I was by the approach of both Adria and Sagmeister, I couldn’t bring myself to take the leap off the treadmill.  That is, until late one afternoon in June 2009 when I received the telephone call that reframed everything instantly.  “You have cancer,” said the voice on the other end of the line.  By February I hope to be in remission and ready to begin my first sabbatical.

Posted by Pamela at December 1, 2009 9:00 AM| Share on Facebook |

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