Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina has created 27 fantasy buildings that meld famous artists and the places where they might live. The series “Archist City” is a clever melding of cross-sectional drawings of buildings and the signature styles of artists including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso, Keith Haring, Joan Miró, Josef Albers, and Piet Mondrian. The result is a cohesive group of easily identifiable buildings—in fact, pairing the artist with the correct drawing is part of the fun.
“Art, architecture and sculpture are historically linked by an unbreakable thread, we find examples of paintings and sculptures having a direct influence on architectural design. … Painting sculpture and architecture have always been complementary disciplines that influence each other and feed to grow and develop along common paths.”
Babina’s skilled artwork makes this look easy, but in actuality first fitting the artists’ iconic styles into an architectural framework, then keeping all of the buildings consistent in execution is the mark of a very skilled artist. Some of the artists play well together: Mondrian and Albers and Rothko for example. Others would seem to defy architecture, like Dali, Haring, and Miro, yet Babina has brought them into his imaginary cityscape. The identical background texture and color, font, and scale relative to the paper help tie the pieces together.
The silhouetted figures help sell these as buildings instead of artworks and the cross-cuts reveal wonderful details: Andy Warhol’s building includes soup cans and his Marilyn Monroe paintings; the huge shark in Damien’s Hirst’s building references his 1991 work “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.”
“These images represent an imaginary and imagined world of shapes that uses the brush to paint architecture.”
What fun it would be to inhabit this world of huge imaginations, awesome ability, and lasting artistic legacy.