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Thursday
May162013

Modern Design Advice from Confucius

Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher, instructed his followers to "Study the past if you would define the future." This maxim holds true across many disciplines whether referring to historical events, cultural literacy, artistic influences - or even our architectural shared spaces. A proper context within which we can grasp the present and responsibly approach the future must include an understanding of history.

While many of us take the enduring value of historic buildings in our towns and cities for granted, there are those who silently yet doggedly labor to preserve these treasures for future generations. On May 8th, 2013 Dick Beardmore was the recipient of Colorado's prestigious State Honor Award for Preservation Leadership - recognizing his vital role in this endeavor of preserving Colorado's built heritage. Though for many months he's been fighting cancer and, in a brief setback, was unable to accept the award in-person, this video portrays some sense of his sterling character & quiet but clear vision.

My association with Dick, which began in the mid 1990's, has deepened my appreciation of the research, accuracy and practical durability vital to the restoration process. While some of the projects I've worked on require me to restore artistic features or signage aspects of these buildings, there have also been numerous opportunities for me to complement a building by designing period-influenced signage. This has given rise to some of my favorite commissions including gold leaf window signs such as Cache La Poudre Rifleworks, The Movie Company and Courtesy Pawn Shop.

More importantly, he has often gently pushed me to dig deeply & be resourceful in arriving at a solution. I recall with fondness, sitting in his office while he asked me how I would approach a particular restoration need. Somewhat baffled I said, "Why are you asking me? I have no idea how to approach this!" In signature "Beardmore" fashion, he smiled and serenely replied, "You'll figure it out." And, of course, he was right.

Thanks Dick! While I pray for your recovery I thank you for broadening my horizons, for your infectious love of time-honored structures, and for pushing me to expand & grow toward the future.

As that ancient sage, with whose words we began this post, once said:

"I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there."

 

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