A rare opportunity came up to spend some time with Mr. Detail, so I took full advantage of it. After spending the day photographing one of Mani Nagra’s properties in White Rock (no hardship there), I got an opportunity to sit down with him and pick his brains about the industry. Let me start by telling you that I have photographed several of his homes and his company (Affinity Projects) is, in my opinion, one of the best property developers in Metro Vancouver. It’s not often I get this chance so I took it.
I started the interview by pointing out his incredibly attention to detail. He has a gift for making things flow so that it is a very pleasant experience walking thru one of his homes. I mean everything! He even matched the wood that encased the security monitors with the doors in the bathrooms which matched the paneling in the bar which matched the doors in the kitchen and so on. I really never noticed before how striking it is to maintain a true consistency with your theme throughout the home … obviously Mani did. He said “No, not really.” Well I guess I must have had a perplexed look on my face because he went on to explain that his strong point is his imagination. I replied to this with “Didn’t you tell me that you like to use a Raymond Bonter (award winning architect and also known for his attention to detail) blueprint for this house?”. He confirmed this but went on to clarify that that is really just the beginning, and everything blossoms from there. Day by day things will change according to what seems right.
To me that sounds like detail but when Mani said “Take for example the putting green on the roof (that overlooks the pier by the way), I started with the open fire pit and weather proof couches, which led to the BBQ, fridge and stereo system … and it led me to the putting green. It’s imagination.” I looked him square in the eyes and retorted with “That’s attention to detail!”. He informed me that if I were correct there would be a pool table up here. I glanced at him, paused for a minute, and asked him him if he looked into it. He grinned and said yeah but he could find one that was waterproof.
We finished our drink on roof enjoying the view and I packed up my photo gear and headed out. While I was sitting in my car I thought to myself ‘I don’t know any more whether Mani is Mr. Imagination or Mr. Detail … but this guy sure can build a great house.’