Celluloid City

Italian Architect Creates Illustrated Phantasmagorical City Populated by Famous Directors

Imagine a city where every building was an anthropomorphisation of a director from the pantheon of film history. It would surely be both a film buff and architect’s dream. Barcelona-based Federico Babina is clearly a bit of both. He’s also an accomplished illustrator, and his latest series Archidirector depicts 27 buildings, each of which carries the unique characteristics of a famous auteur. 01_ARCHIDIRECTOR_federic-fellini 02_ARCHIDIRECTOR_george-lucas 012_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Zhang-Yimou
“Loving cinema and architecture, it’s easy to find similarities and parallels between the two disciplines,” explains Federico. “The directors are like the architects of cinema. They are those that build stories, which, like buildings envelop the viewer and carry them into a different world. Each with their own style, language and aesthetics, they plan, design and build places and stories that host us for the duration of the movie.” There are certainly some heavyweight figures depicted, many of which are instantly recognisable by the design features of their building. George Lucas is rendered with an R2-D2 head and tie-fighter wing emanating from the walls and roof, whilst Stanley Kubrick’s features the iconic red lens of HAL 9000. 03_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Charles--Chaplin
We took a stroll down the streets of this fantastical city and caught up with Federico: The Plus: It seems your series are very much related to architecture, why? Federico Babina: I am an architect and graphic designer, and I work in both areas. I especially enjoy it when the two disciplines meet and intersect. Any architect has to explain his projects through illustration and drawing. In this sense every architect should be a graphic designer. Illustration has been part of my life since I was a child. I started with book illustration, passed through comics and eventually arrived at architecture. Drawing, illustration and architectural projects are for me one of the ways to recount and chronicle my thoughts, feelings and emotions. 04_ARCHIDIRECTOR_alfred-hitchcock
TP: Where did you find your inspirations or references for Archidirector? FB:
In these 27 illustrations I wanted to try to build 27 small stories shaping, in architecture, the aesthetics of 27 masters of cinema. It was an abstract exercise of translating one language into another. The idea is to try a transposition and transformation of some characteristic elements of movie’s language in forms and architectural geometries. In cinema every single detail of a film helps to build a unique and characteristic language of the artistic personality of a director. The same thing happens in architecture where even the smallest detail helps to shape the imprint of an architect. 05_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Stanley-Kubrick The illustrations depict directors with very different styles and aesthetics, the common denominator is a strong and defined personality. I wanted people to walk the streets of a city made of illustrated architecture and take a short journey through the history of cinema.
TP: If there was an Archibabina illustration, what would it look like? FB: It would be difficult to illustrate myself. I prefer to do it through my work; there is a small piece of me in every illustration I do. 06_ARCHIDIRECTOR_fritz-lang 07_ARCHIDIRECTOR_David-Lynch 08_ARCHIDIRECTOR_tim-burton 09_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Andrei-Tarkovsky 010_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Peter-Greenaway 013_ARCHIDIRECTOR_aki-kaurismki 014_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Ingmar-Bergman 015_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Michel-Gondry 016_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Elia-Kazan 017_ARCHIDIRECTOR_wes-anderson 018_ARCHIDIRECTOR_emir-kusturica 019_ARCHIDIRECTOR_wim-wenders 020_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Abbas-Kiarostami 021_ARCHIDIRECTOR_jim-jarmusch 022_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Krzysztof-Kieslowski 023_ARCHIDIRECTOR_michelangelo-antonioni 024_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Ridley-Scott 025_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Blake-Edwards 026_ARCHIDIRECTOR_lars-von-trier 027_ARCHIDIRECTOR_Coen-brothers