Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Taj Ni Hao

When I think of bling buildings I tend to think gold taps, Louis the 14th furniture and brash ornate decoration. Or a another Chinese mainland apartment fit-out. But just as there is another way beyond the shining new Bentley (like an old Rolls), history does have a habit of showing us it is possible to transcend elitist notions of anti bling by delivering the sparkle with a touch of class. With its hulking chunks of white marble, precious stone inlays and 20 years worth of gratuitous carved ornamentation the Taj Mahal certainly delivers on this front. Yes it's popular (like 3 million people a year popular). Yes it's populist as the picture postcard image of India and the 'forever Diana' backdrop of a thousand PC wallpapers in the Home Counties.

However, if you lose the iconography and deal with the amount of people also enjoying this incredible feat of human / elephant power, what you have before your eyes is a building rich in material beauty, proportion, scale and symmetry. There aren't too many buildings of this scale carved out of white marble and to witness the changing reflections of light as the sky transformed from overcast to brewing dark clouds before the Monsoon sky opened was an experience to remember. Now, back to my silver taps and plain white walls...

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