As a child, a visit to the Sydney Opera House was always a highlight. Visits were fairly regular as each year my parents bought the family season tickets to the Australian Ballet. While they might have been the cheapest tickets available and we were right up the back of the concert hall, I didn’t care, I was there in all of its magic.
When we arrived I would run up the steps of the forecourt in my best dress, looking at the famous sails from different angles. I’d walk through the interior, marvelling at enormous windows and the view of the harbour. While I felt something, I never quite realised at that young age what an incredible piece of architecture it was, or more like it, I didn’t put the label to it, I didn’t even know who Jørn Utzon was. But then I guess kids don’t think about those things. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I truly appreciated it from an architectural and interior design point of view.
This magical place from my childhood recently touched me in an unexpected way. It was at the moment that with what was going on I honestly wondered how I could ever write about interior and design again. It all seemed rather superficial. Then I stumbled upon a four-minute video of how the Sydney Opera House was “bringing home” a tapestry that Jørn Utzon commissioned Le Corbusier to make to hang on the walls on its completion.
It’s a beautiful story and I admit I had tears in my eyes after watching the video. It was the emotion of the Utzon’s vision, it was no doubt the emotion of what I was going through and it was most certainly that of realizing the importance of the expression of art and design to me. I realized that I was indeed in the right place and it was okay for me to write about this stuff.
When I was in Sydney, I made sure that I visited the Opera House to see the tapestry with my own eyes. I hadn’t been there in years. I went there with my sister and both of our children. It was interesting seeing them all run around the building, a little wild but I could feel that the energy of the structure stirred something in them, but without them realizing it, like it once did for me.
With all of their excitement, I couldn’t quite sit and truly enjoy the tapestry in the Western Foyer to the extent that I would have liked to (spot them in the reflection of the artwork waiting patiently). I made it there though and I will forever be grateful to this beautifully bold piece of art for igniting that fire inside of me again.
It really is a touching and untold story of the collaboration between two of the 20th century’s greatest architects, for one of the 20th century’s greatest buildings. Instead of me telling it here, I hope that you watch the short video of how it finally made its way “home” for yourself.
If you do make it to the Sydney Opera House, pop into Western Foyers and grab a bite to eat to truly appreciate this incredible gift to the public.
P.S. Talking about beautiful design, did you catch my last post about where I’m moving? Exciting!!