By Team IAnD
Photography: Courtesy the designer
Italian graphic designer and illustrator, Federico Babina’s penchant for building design finds an expressionist rendering in his series on architect’s visages inspired from and incarcerated in their individual architectural contributions…
Expressing the fact that “the geometry of architecture can reveal unexpected and surprising forms”, where an eye, a mouth or a facial profile can be read between the structures of a building, Federico Babina plays with the signature structures and elements thereof of 33 well recognized architects of the 20th and 21st century, to illustrate their visages.
“Each architect is its architecture,” says Federico, whose artistic representation called ‘ArchiPortrait’ is a fun exercise that entices the onlooker to break down and dissect the features (eyes, nose, lips, wrinkles, facial lines) to detect the hidden projects of the most well-known protagonists of contemporary architecture.
Giving an architectural silhouette to his graphically illustrated portraits, the intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the protagonist through his aesthetic; to summarize and photograph in one image the architect and his work; a metaphor of architecture, where every little detail is a key component of the whole mosaic.
Federico has neither contacted the architects before nor after this exercise. He never does. With the designer’s fascination for architecture, his series are predominantly architecturally inclined – be it ArchiCine – architecture in movies; Archist – artists and their architectural musings; ArchiSet – rooms featured in classic films; or the just unveiled – ArchiMachine that metaphorically uses architecture as the fulcrum of society.
In the series on ArchiPortrait, Federico uses simple geometry juxtaposed without the illusions of perspective, where diverse elements could be superimposed, made transparent or penetrate one another, while retaining their spatial relationships. He develops an expressive and allusive abstraction in which he combines planar structures with three-dimensional shapes to achieve a kind of metaphysical expression.
“To achieve a satisfactory result for the representation of architects was like doing an architectural project,” he muses; “The hardest part of each image was to decide on a theme, set image to illustration and take the real or reinterpreted items and compose them in a balanced set,” he concludes.
Herein, lies a light hearted - not irreverent take on a serious field like architecture, a break from the normal, where the Mother of all Arts is often embroiled in otherwise weighty discussions.