Does anyone remember that eighties wall poster Porte Toscane? The one with the grid of beautifully rustic Tuscan doors? They seemed so exotic, looking back. The poster hung in the first proper architectural office I worked in as a graduate. We were a long way from Tuscany, but one of the architects, the nicest one and a director of the firm, Mr Davidson, was an Italophile before anyone much knew what the word meant. The poster was his touch. He even had a house in Radda in Chianti which, now I think about it, must have been quite a rare thing at the time.
When eventually I decided to fly the coop and go off to see Italy for myself Mr Davidson was lovely. He even wrote me letters of introduction and gave a handwritten list of some of his special addresses. I remember one was the Villa San Michele on the Isle of Capri which I still haven’t seen, but I want to.
I take photos of doors myself now. I wonder sometimes if it’s something I would have done anyway. But then I think of Mr Davidson and his poster so I guess I’ll never really know. I’ve worked out one thing though. The doors in the poster were never about the architecture. At least not the architecture we were making. Mr Davidson, John, would have explained that too if I’d asked.
But then again, there are some things we just need to see for ourselves.