The Quest for Soulful Places
As a designer, I find that the work on converting spaces
more meaningful places,
more often than not has to do with the very journey of what soul
is supposed to be.
Soul is a ancient seed sound —
a voicing —
and the point that would be lies in
the human journey —
from life to death,
the sea is the journey, and it is a stopping and finishing point.
For many, watching the Sea
is an endlessly cycling and quieting meditation.
Lots to think about,
Scholarly etymologist Doug Harper suggests that, “A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks and wills” [Century Dictionary], Old English sawol “spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence; life, living being,” from Proto-Germanic *saiwalo (cognates: Old Saxon seola, Old Norse sala, Old Frisian sele, Middle Dutch siele, Dutch ziel, Old High German seula, German Seele, Gothic saiwala), of uncertain origin.
Sometimes said to mean originally “coming from or belonging to the sea,” because that was supposed to be the stopping place of the soul before birth or after death [Barnhart]; if so, it would be from Proto-Germanic *saiwaz (see sea). Klein explains this as “from the lake,” as a dwelling-place of souls in ancient northern Europe.
Invariably, what I’ve seen
is that a place that is made with,
or has soul, is one that is touched by human hands.
A house, a studio, a store or a garage
that has the marks of a collected
and perhaps curated human character is more soulful —
there is the detritus of humanity —
content that implies depth and meaning-fulness.
Therein lies thinking that builds out
the layering of storytelling, memory, magic and meaning.
Still, the meaning of one’s life journey and gathering could be the stuff of other’s examinations of interests and discovering. Beauty sings different songs in the eye of the beheld — those that hold, gather and collect add their own patterning of being and feelingness.
Meaning is, literally, what you “mean.”
In the stretch of intention, the reach becomes tenet
What I think about meaning is
touch, holding, contact and the larger layerings of
the exhilaration of the sensate.
Make a mark on a space and it becomes
a story that you
hold as a place.
A soulful palace has
love — love is belief, literally “being love.”
And in this manner, something that is loved
adds a layering of soulfulness.
There is the implication of care
the certainty of commitment in placemaking
that defines a place that is aligned with
the soul of the participant and
the context of the experiencer.
And a powerful place.
You walk in — there is a feel to the foot fall.
There is a lean-in to
the wall that has a rhythmic clip — a touch.
Touch plays, yet is whole.
When I think of soul full places, I can go from the
upper Galleries and reading rooms
of The New York Public Library.
It might be a legacy environment — perhaps
Alexander Carelton’s rendering of the legacy brand Filson.
Or it could be the Lodge.
Or it could be The Museum.
The big store.
Curtis Steiner’s small one.
It is rare, and
it can’t be “invented,”
it has to be tuned
get into a
place with soul,
it says something,
You’re looking for a place like this.
I like to make places like this.
And ask for it: feel me.
Tim | NYC GIRVIN
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