Fashion icon, branding expert, and all around English design maven Paul Smith is the subject of the new book Paul Smith A to Z, a collection of his musings on a vast array of topics. Interviewed by Olivier Wicker, Smith talks shop, money, London, the sixties, and architecture. Check out our special excerpt from the book and read what Sir Paul has to say about the discipline he adores.
"I lack both the intelligence and the technical qualities to be a professional architect, but have always been fascinated by the subject. I like the language of architecture—how you need to express the rhythm of a building, its proportions, how it connects to its environment. In fact, conceiving an architectural project is a little like designing a jacket: You need to find the right balance. I have tremendous admiration for Carlo Scarpa, and Italian architect who chooses his materials with extraordinary precision. He will select a specific type of wood for a certain place, stone for another…that makes perfect sense to me. I have noticed that more and more cities are making daring choices in their architecture in order to attract more tourists. It's a good thing. As I design the interiors of all my new stores, I imagine how their volume will fit within the city, how people will move around inside the space. Five years ago, after consulting with Mexican and Italian builders, I opened a shop in Los Angeles that was inspired by the work of the architect Luis Barragán. Imagine a huge California-pink shoebox, right on Melrose Avenue. Inside, the mood is warm, intimate, slightly disorganized (even though I see a very personal sense of order there)."—Paul Smith from Paul Smith A to Z (Abrams Books, 2012).