Friday, June 17, 2011

Architecture Is Fate

"Character is fate," the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying, but when it comes to meetings, I think it's architecture that is fate. I kind of flirted with this idea back when I attended the dinner for ASAE's Summit Awards last fall, but it really cohered for me this past Tuesday, when I attended a luncheon for L'Alliance Francaise de Washington at the Belgian ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C. It's a magnificent property -- a two-story limestone structure built in 1931 and situated on nine wooded acres above the Potomac River. The elegant luncheon -- to which I was invited by the Belgian Tourist Office's Annette Choynacki -- honored the work of the Alliance, a network of French language and cultural centers. And the ambassador's residence encapsulated that perfectly simply by being what it is: a Louis XIV-inspired manor house with crystal chandeliers and parquet floors. In a sense, the venue didn't complement the event; it was the event. Is that an effect that you shoot for when you're scouting locations for your meetings?

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