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Say We Meet 01

It started over coffee, or might have. Just an idea, not necessarily a good one, definitely something to think about. After lunch, a few more sketches. Then on the way home, it hits you. You walk the seawall, the idea walks with, taking on shape, clarity. This other way of describing the city—this one you and I happen to live in. We share drawings, understanding as we do something of rudiments of a waterside walkway, a path that need not and should not go anywhere. A walk always within eyeshot of home, a home. You speak of how satisfying this particular slice of urban landscape can be. We wax poetic; a ribbon tracing the brink of a working habour—ok a marina. Perceptibly, but just, its connection to a much larger transportation network—loud, churning, industrial—is implied. Yes, hinted at. We turn together to the question of a meandering line. Thrill to the warp, weave of suggested commercial comings and goings. The excitement of other places, people from cities, nations whose interests in fact shatter the logic of our own. On one side, the incandescent certainty of carefully furnished townhouses that unapologetically flirt with (the idea of) river or canal. Like that other one we worked along, years ago. You remember. That was something we learned how to sell, knew it well. Oversized windows lined with fine draperies still open at dusk, immodest, beckoning. The inquisitive stares of a late November afternoon. The walkers-by gorging on the view of fine furnishings—exquisite dining room suites, large screen televisions floating above well-appointed living nooks, a feast of beautiful lights, shockingly tasteful paintings, a carefully hung photograph, the corner suites with the majestic piano, silent ebony. Entirely symbolic, erotic. We want to think, this could be Amsterdam or Cologne or Venice. Right bank or Rive Gauche. We smile, memory of the drawings for Lubek and Rostok, Hamburg, Riga—the other cities our firms have bid on. We are proud of our ability to balance old and new, residential street and industrial zone, local and international influences—"tasteful." Yet, you and I both know that it is the dark water on just the other side of these tasteful railings that sells the idea. A bit foreboding, I agree, but not necessarily cold. If it is a bit brackish, petrol smeared along the edges—no problem. At night, and from certain angles during the early morning and late afternoon, this water is the perfect foil, serving up floating, ethereal neighbourhoods. We call it Maraya from the Arabic for reflection. Image, mirror—mirage, you wonder.

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