Sometimes obsession is a good thing, especially for architect Henning Rasmuss. His passion and obsession with his chosen field of design has seen him involved in projects ranging from the design of shopping centres, to warehouses, community centres, taxi pavilions and the very impressive Cape Town Stadium. In between designing, curating exhibitions and editing books, Rasmuss also heads up Paragon Architects.
1. Can design save the world? Not on its own.
2. What is your present state of mind? De-electrified after the first summer rains in Johannesburg this afternoon.
3. What is your greatest achievement to date? Finding a good life partner.
4. What would you most like to change about the world? Short-term thinking.
5. Do you recycle? Yes. Images in my mind, all the time. For the rest, I am an undisciplined dirty boy.
6. What is your most treasured possession? The typewriter my father carried when he stepped ashore in Cape Town in 1952.
7. What is the role of design in South Africa? To make people’s lives better.
8. Who in the world, alive or dead, would you most like to have a drink with? Alive (I think): Italo Calvino. Dead: Mao Tse Tung.
9. Do you have a creative/business muse? No. But a creative / business nose.
10. If you had to live inside a work of art, which piece would it be? Les Demoiselles D’ Avignon by Picasso.
11. What is the opposite of design? Accident.
12. What advice would you give to emerging creatives? Become obsessed with what you do and love your first few achievements more than anything else.
13. What are the (seven) wonders of the design world? Volkswagen Beetle; Boeing 747; La Tourette by le Corbusier; Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi; Canoas House by Oscar Niemeyer; Eames Chair; the match box.
14, What's your favourite building in the world? Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing by Herzog & de Meuron.
15. What's one thing that you haven't done that you would really like to do? Go to see the rock-cut churches at Lalibela.
16. How do you define creative success? Cracking it. When you know you’ve broken through, and you can go to bed to sleep over the idea and let it come back in your dreams.
17. If not design, what would you do? Law.
18. What is your favourite book? Numbers in the Dark by Italo Calvino.
19. What's your pet hate? Fluffy Stuff and Frilly Things and Glitter.
20. What has been your favourite project to date? Cape Town Stadium in Green Point.