The award-winning architect who is designing a new courtyard and gallery at the Victoria & Albert Museum offers her blueprint for the Spear’s interrogation.
Is business a pleasure?
For me work is a life force.
How many assistants do you have?
Just one, Mary — she is indispensable.
Philanthropy should be…
My business mantra is…
The less structure we have, the more the office runs itself.
Which watch do you wear?
Right now, a beautiful navy blue vintage Patek Philippe that I gave to my husband.
Which work of art would you steal?
One of Rothko’s Red on Maroon paintings from 1959, but I could never enjoy it — I would feel too bad.
Where do you summer?
It depends. France, Italy, Greece — always Europe.
When I drive, I drive…
A BMW 6 series, but I much prefer to be driven.
Favourite hotel suite?
The Penthouse Suite at Claridge’s; it’s where I got married.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Starched linen napkins at every meal, and that includes breakfast — and my Gett taxi account.
What keeps you going?
A desire to make a difference.
Money lets me…
Be generous to those I love.
My greatest success in business was…
Starting AL_A and winning the competition for the V&A.
My greatest failure in business was…
Losing the competition for the Mumbai Museum — we should have won!
Which restaurant is indispensable?
The Wolseley. The service is so wonderful it feels like a second home.
Where in the world are you happiest?
Anywhere with my family.
What would your other career be?
Being an architect is what I always wanted to do.
Who is your greatest influence?
Jan Kaplický and Richard Rogers.
What is your biggest fear?
Something terrible happening to my son.
What is missing in the world?
How did you earn your first pay cheque?
Making candy floss when I was fourteen — but I gave most of it away so I was sacked.
Spear’s is sharp and to the point. I am…
A bit impulsive.