By the time of my third trip in Oman I had developed a few interesting local contacts.

One of them was consulting the Government in infrastructure development and was at that time involved in the construction of the new coastal highway. Since the works were attracting some (mild) criticism from the environmentalists, my acquaintance was keen to demonstrate that their impact on the landscape was not necessarily negative.

 

With a fair dose of opportunism I offered to help and I was put in touch with the Chinese contractor who had won the job.

Clearly he couldn’t care less.

Nonetheless, reviewing his shop drawings, I think I managed to instill some sculptural quality in the pillars that were to support a bridge over a wadi. I took inspiration both from the palm stems and an old watch tower.

 

I wasn’t anticipating any follow up to this meeting, when a month later, unexpectedly, the contractor sent me a scant photographic documentation of the completed pillars.