A recent debate at the Royal Geographical Society saw the motion ‘Britain is indifferent to beauty’ defeated. What do you think is the most beautiful thing in Britain today, and why?
To me, the most beautiful thing in Britain – if you can call it a ‘thing’ – is the diversity and multicultural richness of its people, as well as the English language. Combined, they allow for and facilitate possibilities in communication and visual language that are hard to beat anywhere else in the world. I would like to reposition one way of looking at beauty, to be about valuing the potential for creation, whatever the outcome might be. The creation process itself is beautiful, be it a simple conversation or a creative collaboration.
Hege Saebjørnsen, Photographer
You can call me old-fashioned, but it has got to be the pencil. Not the D&AD type, but just a plain old HB, with its unlimited potential to create pictures, words, clothes, cars and planes. Recently, I’ve been favouring the Faber-Castel version. As my good friend Vincent said, they are ‘superior to Carpenter pencils, a capital black and most agreeable’. So, pencils – and, maybe, Orlando Bloom.
Gemma Thelwell, Freelance graphic designer Liverpool.
I grew up on the outskirts of the city when it was a bombsite and left it being wrecked by politicians and planners. I’ve been back often, and although it had great surviving architecture, Liverpool was depressed, and depressing – until last year’s Capital of Culture programme. The Pier Head has sprouted museums and galleries, the Mersey sparkles in the sun, historic buildings have been restored and sleek developments built. Best of all, people now have real pride in the place. They wouldn’t stop talking about it. Beautiful.
Brian Webb, Designer and director, Webb & Webb
London. I see beauty here everyday and everywhere. Its contrast of classic and modern is inspiring and influential. I am always surprised by its various architectural styles and the way they merge to create an extraordinary cityscape. I love to get lost in the museums, galleries, shops and markets. More than anything, my eyes never rest looking at beautiful faces from all over the world, whether smiley girls in skinny jeans or austere old men with long beards.
André Penteado, Photographer