“It all started with a very slow bartender at a gallery opening,” says composer Raphael Mostel of his longtime collaboration with architect Steven Holl. The two met about a decade ago while waiting in line for drinks at the opening of an appropriately inter- disciplinary event, a show featuring the work of composer John Cage and video artist Nam June Paik. Since then, the two have worked together, consulting with each other on myriad projects including one of Holl’s commissions, set to open later this year, a Maggie’s Centre at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.
Mostel recalls discussing the project over dinner with Holl, who was “searching for a way to honor the history of the place.” Their conversation touched on topics such as the Guidonian hand (a medieval mnemonic that helped musicians learn to sight-sing) and neume notation (a predecessor to the five-line staff), “all of which Steven began sketching or noting in his sketchbook,” says Mostel. “That became the kernel for his magnificent realization of the project.”