“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.” — John Lennon
Imagine no possessions,
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger,
A brotherhood of man.
Just Imagine. Today, we’ll take a look at life and design through the lens of an artist, musician, and above all, a humanitarian. The era that started in the 1950s, gave birth to one of the greatest musicians of all time, John Lennon. His symphony remains timeless, creating deep-seated impressions through lyrics and compositions.
John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter, musician, and peace activist, born and raised in Liverpool, England, achieved worldwide fame as the founder of ‘The Beatles’ along with Paul McCartney, marking one of the most famous and successful songwriting partnerships in history.
A key figure in the Post War generation, Lennon, with his philosophy, mission, and music worked towards changing the world with an ideology of peace and truth. Through this article, we try to imagine a world wherein, John Lennon with his individuality, specialty, style, and personality could mold and translate architecture.
Drawing from the concept of parallelism, we explore the kind of designer he would be and the genre of structures and spaces that he would create.
1. Fighting For A Cause – Humanitarian
Being an activist, Lennon had strong opinions concerning social and political causes. He made it his mission to fight against it peacefully, channeling his greatest devices, songwriting, and music.
With references drawn from this aspect, Lennon could have made his mark in transformative and social design. Corresponding to one such example that we see here, this social design project in Mexico looks at bringing community, solidarity, and local materials together.
This project was initiated in 2015, when CHOPEkE Collective, together with Paul Perez, an active member of the group, transformed an unworthy space into a chapel for meetings and spiritual activities.
Following practices kept forward by architect Juan Manuel Casillas Pintor, the construction used locally sourced material and the employment of the local community to come together and bring about a change for the greater good. As John Lennon portrayed this theme of unending conflict, his beliefs would call out to a design that looked at revolutionizing the unimaginable.
2. Rebel In Search Of Peace
As many called it, Lennon was known to be a rebel in search of peace, love, and unity with utmost emotional and intellectual honesty described profoundly through his artistry. This trait leads the explorer to an analogy with one of the greats, and his style of work, famously known as organic architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright, with the design of ‘Falling Water’, presents a philosophy through design that is awe-inspiring and bold with its structural capacity, yet synchronized and harmonious through an amalgam of its elements.
The structure outwardly speaks to its spectator, indulging an individual to feel at one with space through a portrayal of concepts that represent humanity and unity with transparency that shows Wright’s ideology and honesty.
Linearity lies with these two artists and their respective modes of artistry, where one resonates with it through his lyrics and the other through architecture.
3. Inquisitive And Original
Lennon’s music did not imply a metaphorical view of life but simply remained an individual’s comprehension of themselves. Drawing from a world of conflict he resonated amongst all, with lyrics that chronicled the unvarnished experiences in a journey called life.
Lennon, in this aspect, finds similarity with an architect whose works have enhanced the art of storytelling through architecture and originality through the structure. Peter Zumthor, with a fine example of the ‘Steilneset Memorial’, drew from the story and myths of witchcraft and built it to something original yet memorialized.
The stunning memorial in Vardo, Norway speaks of the ‘trial by water’ through its design journey, and every feature that forms the structure draws from a sincere and original process of the narrative, much like the lyrics to the song ‘Imagine’ by Lennon that asks of everybody to challenge and correct their inner selves to coexist in a better world.
4. A Reflection Of Experiences And Idealism
John Lennon, who is famously termed as ‘The Cynical Idealist’ drew inspiration from his own experiences, composing memorable harmonies that match his idealism. His significant body of creative work goes to show the contest between the innate self-interest that hobbles progress and sheer optimism that could make everything better if dreams were kept in focus.
Speaking of experiences, the style of design that comes to mind is of Tadao Ando, who also extracted concepts in architecture from his personal spiritual beliefs and cultural learnings.
In most of his works, one example being the ‘Langen Foundation’, the simplicity in architecture concentrates on the inner feeling rather than the outward appearances. Also, along with this simplicity is a close relation to nature and its effect through all constituents of architecture.
- ArchDaily. (2018). Social Design Work in Mexico Brings Community, Solidarity and Local Materials Together. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/889806/social-design-work-in-mexico-brings-community-solidarity-and-local-materials-together [Accessed 17 Aug. 2021].
- Fallingwater. (2017). Fallingwater. [online] Available at: https://fallingwater.org/.
- ArchDaily. (2013). Peter Zumthor: Seven Personal Observations on Presence In Architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/452513/peter-zumthor-seven-personal-observations-on-presence-in-architecture.
- Divisare. (n.d.). Tadao Ando, Lorenzo Zandri · Museum Langen Foundation. [online] Available at: https://divisare.com/projects/382645-tadao-ando-lorenzo-zandri-museum-langen-foundation.
- John Lennon. (2017). About – John Lennon. [online] Available at: http://www.johnlennon.com/about/.