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There was a formidable force present at the opening of Swiss giant Mario Botta's fi rst ever UK exhibition at the RIBA.

Astragal refers not to the architect's sizeable entourage, nor even the minuscule wildhaired maestro himself. It was rather Signora Botta - looking demure in fur - who held court while her husband frantically sketched on a giant blackboard, the pièce de résistance of the exhibition. Spotting a space where he hadn't applied his sacred hand, Mrs Botta helpfully shouted suggestions from the crowd, not content until her husband had reduced his chalk to a mere stub and his arms hung limply by his sides in artistic exhaustion. Mastermind of San Franciso's Museum of Modern Art and prodigy of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn Botta may be, but Mrs B appeared to steal the show.

Behind every powerful man?

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