The famous Walter Carrington – Nigeria’s number one street responsible for the immigration stories of hundreds of thousands of nationals, annually. As usual the resilient Lagos crowd of visa seekers and service providers defy the heavy rains, remaining on the queue. The can do spirit of Nigerians is what has kept us going through the good, bad and ugly…. especially the ugly in the most recent times.
My life just before I left the country at the age of 17, flashed before my eyes. I struggled to deflect my compassion, reminding myself that punctuality is a vital first impression. This Oyinbo ambassador must never attribute lateness to my person.
The Sujimoto ideals are greatly inspired by the discipline of the Japanese, but more importantly, our inspiration is drawn from the Italian Renaissance. History reminds us that the Italians have had great impact on architecture. Their influence can be felt on our luxury Real Estates. Architects like Arnolfo di Cambio and Filippo Brunelleschi whose joint creation, The Florence Cathedral in Italy (1296 -1436), not only challenged status quo, but stood the test of time.
Sujimoto’s direct inspiration, Cosimo de Medici who was everything but a king, not only produced more leaders in different sectors, and impacted the Italian Society, but was a great influence on the world of architecture and luxury Real Estate. His family believed in the saying niente è impossibile, meaning ‘nothing is impossible’.
Our first project, The Medici is a testimony. Its exterior marble architecture reminds you of the 16th century Italy, but the interior takes you to New York.
My meeting with the Italian Consul –General, was long overdue. Our new project The LorenzoBySujimoto – the tallest residential building in Lagos and Africa’s first fully automated building is a pure reflection of the Italian culture, and the Italian ambassador was gracious enough to allow me pay homage to a culture from which I continually draw great inspiration.
The rain seemed to be on a mission to disrupt all activities. As a goal getter, my mission must be accomplished. Wasn’t this what I always said about going the extra-mile against all odds? I held my breath under the umbrella, as we strolled toward the white-coated Italian piece of elegance.
Obe to dun owo lopa. Money well spent stands the test of time. I made a couple of stops, to take in the Architecture. For some reason, the building reminded me of the Bauhaus – an iconic German structure from which art and design were taught from 1913 – 1933. The building exuded an aura of the old mixed with the new. It communicated an impression of a culture being so delicately preserved in a foreign land.
On the majestic structure, the Nigerian and Italian flags although hoisted, bowed to the rains as their colours rebelled against the clouds. That, just kind of brought rice and beans to my mind.
Whether you have power or just riches, a man without humility means nothing to me. That’s why my first impression of the honourable consular will remain in my mind forever.
At the reception, the almost athletically fit man who strode calmly and extended his hands.
“Vieni con me”
The man who led me up the multiple regal stairs all the way to the tastefully furnished living room, was ….you know who? Andrea himself! Okay… this was another FIRST.
His listening and engagement skills were simply amazing. He was curious about a small Nigerian Company with a Japanese name, and the strong mix of inspiration from Italian history. Who wouldn’t be?
It was difficult to ignore the huge artwork of a beautiful Italian lady who indulged in a rich bowl of pasta with reckless abandonment, nor that of the gentleman Italian-New Yorker relishing another pasta dish.
My addiction to pasta or my long throat for Indomie got through to me. Thumbs up, to Nigerian bachelors. Indomie has been keeping us alive, a loooong time.
Pompermaier is the definition of a true diplomat… attentiveness, graciousness, blended with a willingness to merge cultures.
As they say, diplomacy is the key to all relationships. The Italian diplomat’s candor is an enviable character to be imbibed. More importantly, going the extra-mile in the pursuit of one’s dreams is what sets achievers apart from non-achievers. These, I know for sure.