7 Jul 2016

Inspire Aspire - Looking Back to Look Forward

What's in a tagline? More than meets the eye when it conveys a powerful motto that strings two phrasal verbs that together convey past, present and future harmoniously like three peas in a pod. The tagline is a pep talk all to itself!

Brought to you by Primus Hotel Sydney

The context of the Looking Back to Look Forward tagline is in relation to a newly-opened 5-star hotel in Sydney, Australia, set in a 1939 heritage-listed Art Deco edifice that used to be home to the Sydney Water Board. The $2 billion refit was a two-year labour of love that not only integrated but also totally revived the old, to which was added that light touch of present modernity - just enough to take the Art Deco into the 21st century and beyond, with no compromise on either period elegance or modern comfort.

This called for equilibrium between the old and the new, a balancing act, a synergy that only a sensible, measured, concerted, thoughtful upgrade could create. That meant not ripping up the period features, as sadly we tend to witness elsewhere when architects and con artists are let loose in the 'now for the now' vibration, with no clear instructions or simply no intention to preserve original features. Here the original design stays centrestage, and the future of this building of character is written with its history and period features in mind. The PR tagline had to translate this fluidity, the flow of the past into the future via the 'renov-action' of the now.

A grandiose foyer set to rival New York's Waldorf Astoria! (AFR)

Looking Back to Look Forward is to draw on the past in order to build a lasting future. Rooting, anchoring the future in the solid, tried-and-tested foundations of the past applies to sensible architectural renovations like we would like to witness them more often. The tagline is smart, neat and to the point, and it has a certain familiarity to it, as experience teaches us that a past needs a future and a future needs a past, and how successful the integration of both into the present occurs relies upon our skill to interpret the values of the past and be able to carry them forward. This is what we call heritage and we need it bad, because heritage is history and history allows us to face the future.

This is a tagline that is relevant not just for architectural design but also for the way we design our lives. For life experience teaches us that as we stand in the present we should draw the lessons from the past and remember and honour our elders legacy, in order to create a strong, meaningful and (g)rounded future to pass on to our children. 

Cocktail functions in the lobby area

Meanwhile as the world is moving faster and the planned obsolescence of models and beliefs is getting shorter, society is being engineered to get stuck in the now of their needs and wants to their very consumerist levels, and entertained by their time-consuming social media hobbies. We witness the obliteration of our heritage by the governing and financial elites which are busy rewriting elements of our past to suit their agenda and ulterior motives, and disenfranchising us from the past. It remains therefore urgent for us to take that step back, acknowledge and own that past back in order to be able to move forward whole and empowered into a future filled with scope and perspective.

The only way is up!

Primus Hotel Sydney, 339 Pitt Street, Sydney, Australia, 2000.

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