The images from the US Capitol following the recent terrorist attack are shocking. So, to try to return to some resemblance on normalcy, I thought I’d share some photos I took last year in the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
On my way there I was fully expecting to see the typical Washington power office: Dark wood paneling, a huge desk flanked by flags, and the usual “show me wall” (a wall covered with framed pictures of the office’s occupant with famous people). What I found was far from that.
As you see in these photos, the Speaker’s desk is rather small. Instead of being the focus of the room, it’s in front of a window with a grand view of the Mall. Set only with a phone, a small arrangement of flowers, and in/out boxes, it’s probably a place she doesn’t spend much time. The rest of the office is divided by two sitting areas. The focus is on bringing people together for discussion, rather than pronouncement. The color tone is softer than most Congressional offices, perhaps with a goal of lowering the intensity of emotions. Overall, it conveys a unique combination of power and calm. Which is most reassuring these days.