Federico Babina is a Barcelona-based designer who is the brain behind Archist, an illustration series of prints where buildings resemble the work of twenty-seven of the most famous artists throughout history in their signature styles. Many of Babina’s illustrations range from Picasso, Mondrian, Dali and Lichtenstein — to name a few — and each work of art is available for purchase. Think about it: what if Picasso had designed a jagged cubist structure? What if Damien Hirst utilized his trademark polka dots onto a sleek, machine-like modernist building? What if Piet Mondrian applied his interesting approach to geometry and color to the design of an apartment building? What if…well, you get the idea.
The notion for this series make perfect sense, as throughout history, various movements in art and architecture have been linked, with each medium subtly influencing one another. Babina realizes this exchange of influence in probably the most literal sense as possible, as his takes the particular artists’ signature aesthetics and then applies them to imaginary buildings. He states that “a sculpture is like a micro-architecture, a facade can become like a painted canvas and a building can be shaped as in the hands of a skilled sculptor.”
The other aspect as to why this series works well is that some of the artists actually did dip their toes in the architecture pool. For example, Salvador Dali, known for his surrealist artistic style, designed parts of the Port Ligat house where he lived in Cadaques, Spain, and the carnival-like Theater-Museum in Figueres. Also, Christo, known for imaginary buildings draped in saffron curtains — i.e., “The Gates,” works in transforming large-scale structures using dramatically draped fabrics. For the full effect of the illustration series, the collective of Babina’s work is known as “Archist City,” which could almost be a concept plan for a theme park for art/architecture/design school nerds like myself. Could Six Flags get on this?