David Chipperfield: “There is no defining moment”
Mr. Chipperfield, how do you feel when you’re standing in front of a finished building?
Well, the problem with architecture is that it’s a long process. Many of the bigger projects that we have — and even the smaller ones — tend to take three years minimum but they can also go on for five or 10 years. So there is no real single defining moment in the way that there sometimes is with other creative processes. It’s not like in theater, where you think, “Okay, tonight’s the opening night,” and then you all go out for a drink afterwards. A building is progressively being completed, even on the day of the opening! I think the point when you can really stand back is a little bit later, maybe one year later.
What will have changed in that one year?
I think that’s when the work has become naturalized. With something like the Neues Museum in Berlin for instance, for the first year, I couldn’t really relax by going there. Now I quite like going there, like a foreigner or a visitor. It was the same way when we were planning our offices in Berlin. We spent a lot of time developing it and worrying — should we have two rails for the curtains? What sort of door handle should we use? Now it’s just become a place to work, but at the time, it was difficult to enjoy it when we didn’t have any distance from it. It’s nice when a building moves from being the subject to becoming the object.
David LaChapelle: “Everything was dramatic”
Mr. LaChapelle, what did you dream about last night?
I had such a strange dream! I was with a friend at this old stone monastery — I think it was Venice, because it was on the water. There was a lot of white, there were monks and the Pope… I was in this group of all these guys walking with their hands folded and praying and they were like, “Oh, who’s going to be the next Pope?” and I’m thinking, “Well, it surely can’t be me as I’ve done all these crazy photos!” Oh my God, this dream was nuts.
I guess that’s why they call you the “Fellini of Photography.”
Well, I find that comparison much more accurate than to be called “the surrealist,” for example. Fellini is someone I really love! The humor and free sexuality, the Catholic references, the over-the-top characters and narratives that he employs in his work, the old and the new — that was something that I always embraced. The absurdities of life, the wild parties, the bosomy Hollywood blonde or the Italian bombshell, the madness of the paparazzi, the fast times, all those incredible images — like that of a sculpture of Christ dragged by a helicopter amongst the clouds in La Dolce Vita! These characteristics you definitely see in my work, especially back when I was working for magazines, and everything was dramatic.