Time’s Arrow Paradox

Spiralling Clock

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
(Omar Khayyám)

In 1928, the British astronomer Arthur Eddington published his book The Nature of the Physical World explaining the concept of the arrow of time. This paradox involves the “one-way direction” or “asymmetry” of an arrow converted into an expression of time. Continue reading

Dream… and piss a lot

warhol piss

Everywhere people talk about innovation. Not necessarily as an unconditional embrace of technology, not as an outstanding pulse of scientific research, but by incorporating some improving elements or efficient initiatives in the production process. We all must be innovative to be better, to be different. Yes, innovation is the buzzword of these times.

Do we really know what it is that is forcing us to innovate? I’m afraid not much. Behind this hackneyed word remain hidden the old dogmas, the same bigoted attitudes, the inalienable conservative principles, and this stagnation always leads nowhere. Step by step, the concept of nowhere, a “non-place”, is becoming familiar to us. But indeed we Continue reading

Embracing Beauty

fibonacci

I had the pleasure of speaking with Enrique Loewe about beauty and ugliness in the solemn courtyard of the new Thyssen Museum, Málaga. “Embrace beauty”, he exclaimed from the podium of someone who symbolizes luxury better than anyone else in Spain. “Whatever you may study, whatever you may do, be sensible to the ideal of beauty that will transform your professions into a happy and creative exercise. Be demanding with your surroundings, proclaim your taste for things well done, hold on to what’s beautiful,” concluded he who in his own words “has given everything for the desire of beauty in design”.

The esthetics canon has been in constant evolution through History. While the women of the Renaissance portrayed wide hips and prominent curves, women in the 18th century quite contrarily sought to accentuate fragility which was considered romantic by taking only vinegar and lemon. Or what about the incomprehensible esthetics, to us, that are the giraffe women of the Karen tribe in Thailand. Or the teeth blackened with the ohaguru technique in Japan. While Japanese culture demands pale and milky faces, the European middle class has imposed a tanned sheen achieved after many hours of sun exposure in the Mediterranean beaches. Since classic times the concept of beauty had been associated with the discovery of the divine proportion, the number phi, enunciated by Pythagoras and other Hellenic mathematicians. Symmetry isn’t found in parity, but in the spiral evolution of the shapes based on 1618. For each unit, you add to the line a little over a unit and a half. This Fibonacci succession is recognized as much in the works of nature as in the work of artistic geniuses: Praxiteles, Da Vinci, Palladio, Le Corbusier. Continue reading

Goodbye to the reception desk

bell concierge blueI arrived very late at night. From the outside the hotel looked closed, inhospitable. The lights were off. The night shift employee was lying on a couch. I opened the sliding glass doors, and glanced over to see a monolithic figure of a uniformed person behind a dark service desk. The person didn’t look up. He just gestured in the comfort of his usual position. If anything, he only gave me formal greeting as I approached him, carrying my bags. His eyes were hidden behind thick lenses, inscrutable in the gloom. His breathing, even thicker than his glasses, evidenced the nocturnal condition. He accomplished his work with merit from the first moment, when he asked for my passport, the three mandatory signatures and a credit card… «As a guarantee that you will not leave without paying,» he added, with the courtesy he learned at the hospitality school. That was the receptionist.

That was last week. But it could have happened any night last month, last year, or at the end of the millennium. Or at any other time in my childhood when the kindness of the agent was complimented with a «May God be with you for many years.» The reception has always been the sanctum sanctorum of the bureaucracy in the hotel industry. That strange job where, instead of welcoming guests and helping to relieve them from the inconvenience of traveling, they are hindered with the regular processing of their registration and assurance of their purchasing power. An instant hold in that travel momentum, the memory of which always reminds me of a teller window of the treasury or the lottery office, without the urgency of the first or the exciting disorder of the second. Continue reading

The Geography of Happiness

Hedonometer measures the happiness

Josep Chías, tourism consultant and professor at the Esade, Barcelona, published his last book, The Business of Happiness (Kindle, Amazon, 2013), just five years before his death. Tourism is an activity that is consumed with a smile (poetry), given that results in an expectation of happiness (economics), argued passionately that behests you his knowledge of marketing.

It is going to be 30 years since I met Chías in tourist planning that led us to the happy slogan of “Asturias, natural paradise” and I will always remember his tenacity in pursuit of psychological and sociological motivations that give sense to the tourism economy: penetrate into the mind of every traveller to know what moves them to travel, why they choose the destination, what is left in it, what you take home and what will be remembered years later about the experience. Continue reading

A Six Million Dollar Cocktail

Jigger Cocktail Bar opened in Bilbao, Spain

Mixology is a great opportunity to transform your hotel bar service in new liturgies. With this tweet, I celebrated the arrival of an exceptional bartender, Diego Cabrera, to the digital “joint” of the Ruina Habitada (my Inhabited Ruin in Spain). I’ve never been in his bar, in order not to commit the sacrilege of ordering my favorite drink after wine and beer. A gin and tonic, please! But I’ve joined up with him at some Madrid balls, especially the one he encouraged me to hold more than three years ago along with other well-known bartenders to debate on the bar’s space in hotels. Rethinking the bar was the name of the gathering sponsored by the French Champagne brand Mumm. Besides Cabrera, the event was attended by Carlos Moreno, Javier Rufo, Óscar Durán, Francesco Cavagionni, DJ Johan Walt and interior designer Lorenzo Castillo. The conclusion of that group reflection could be nothing other than what was expressed Continue reading