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  • Lance Williams

IT IS A YANNING MATTER!



Dad was a Navy admiral, mom a chic French skiier extraordinaire, sister a founding member and bass guitarist for the band The Talking Heads, daughter is the former publisher of the Washington Post, son, a horoic young Army doctor, and wife, an international buinesswohman/art honcho he met on a brief top in Manhattan. She'd just flown in from her home base in Beijing on business.

So, who is this guy? Well, you know the inconic glass pyramid at the Louvre, or the slithering glass "enigma" at the Dali, or the glass box joined to the Neo-Classical Museum of Fine Art in St. Pete, the proposal for the new St. Pete Pier, the east wing of the National Museum of Art? Well, Bay Area architect Yann (yahn) Weymouth's fingerprints are all over them.

As a young Harvard and MIT grad Yann was starchitect I.M. Pei's chief designer for the National Museum and Louvre pyramids. Emplying brilliant new design principles of cables and tethers, borrowed from a lifetime of sailing, Yann gave the Louvre's glass structure the appearance of floating rather than anchored down by assive steel beams. The French President knighted Yann for his contribution.

His projects aren't just some self-absorbed hymn to his ability. Rather, every inch, surface, texture, color is meticulously manipulated to please the visitor. Channeling Buckminster Fuller, father of the geodesic dome and good friend to Dali, and using cutting edge design principles, Weymouth created the glazed snake that embraces the Dali Museum, a masterwork of art and tehnolog. Each of the 1,062 glass triangles is a different shape, and slightly curved in order to withstand withering impacts, their diamond bright spaces, combined with Dali's art treasures, take you on a magical mystery tour overlooking the bobbing kinetic energy of the boats and the bay.

His projects aren't just some self-absorbed hymn to his ability. Rather, every inch, surface, texture, color is meticulously manipulated to please the visitor. Channeling Buckminster Fuller, father of the geodesic dome and good friend to Dali, and using cutting edge design principles, Weymouth .created the glazed snake that embraces the Dali Museum, a masterwork of art and tehnolog. Each of the 1,062 glass triangles is a diff-

erent shape, and slightly curved in order to withstand withering impacts, their diamond bright spaces, combined with Dali's art treasures, take you on a magical mystery tour overlooking the bobbing kinetic energy of the boats and the bay.

I met Yann at a garage sale at our house. He and wife, Susana, bought a desk for then twelve year old Wells (the now Army doctor). I share that because, while their lives are the stuff of Vanity Fair articles, they're as winsome and unpretentious as the next door neighbors. In fact, they were neighbors, and you pinh yourself you're sitting at their dinner party... sort of like an embassy reception without the social jostling.

PYRAMIDE DE LOUVRE

The had taken a 1920's bungalow and infused it with modern elements to create a fantasy lair: A metal mixing bowl became the powder room sink; wide, long steel pizza oven conveyor belts became chic, transluscent sliding room dividers, and, everywhere, touches of low key sophistication (including the picture of Jackie Kennedy strolling Park Ave. with her buddy, Jean Schumberger, Yann's uncle, and Tiffany's chief jewelry designer, perched on the coffee table).

Yann is now part of an architectural triumvirate that includes modern architectural talents. Harvard Jolly, and Wannemacher Jensen, the group dedicated to continuing the transformation of St. Petersburg into a cultural mecca. Susana now heads the non-profit Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the ARts. And, after a lifetime of addresses in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, London, and Los Angeles, the Tampa Bay ARea is now their permanent landing pad: A place where impecabble weather combines with burgeoning intellectual, retail and cultural cache; a lifestyle to which they have certainly made an indelible contribution. OH WHAT A LIFE!




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