The traditional approach in architecture has always been to turn sketches and renderings into buildings, but an increasing number of creatives are now also turning buildings into artworks. We caught up with three local architectural artists who are blurring the creative lines to learn more about their craft.
Founded by Max Melvill and Jamil Randera, +NESS was the outcome of the duo’s interest in the distinctive personality of city buildings, and the unique, personal connections people have with the buildings around them.
‘We wanted to uncover each building’s soul, or “NESS”, as a means of distilling them to their essence,’ they say. ‘For example, we wanted to discover what is the Cape TownNESS of Cape Town.’
+NESS was showcased at this year’s Design Indaba Emerging Creatives platform, and currently has about 60 artworks in its ‘catalogue’, ranging from the Bo-Kaap Museum in Cape Town to the Jeweler’s building in Chicago in the US. ‘How the public has interacted with our work has been a great source of energy and it’s what drives the +NESS project forward,’ they say.
Some of their most inspiring cities are Barcelona, Paris and Isfahan in Iraq. Find +NESS on Instagram.
Drawing inspiration from famous buildings around the world, Shaun Gaylard from Blank Ink Design founded his series of Architectural City Guides, which illustrate the diverse architecture and mood of each city’s unique blend of culture and context.
‘Cartagena is a historic walled city, which sits on the edge of the Caribbean. It’s a kaleidoscope of Colombian/Spanish culture, Caribbean heat and historical charm. Tel Aviv is just superb, as it’s filled with so much history and some very beautiful new buildings. Hong Kong is simply inspirational … and I love Asian food!,’ Shaun says of his favourite cities.
Shaun has worked his drawings into homeware previously, and he recently teamed up with leading South African retailers to produce a new range of colourful, geometrically styled prints, scatter cushions and tableware. The range is expected to be available from the end of September 2016 in Cape Town and Johannesburg. We’ll most certainly be on the lookout for it.
A graphic designer by training, Atang began drawing buildings in an abstract, street-infused way and soon opened a studio specialising in surface design and illustration. As he consolidated his personal style, his portfolio grew to include the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Soweto Theatre, Turbine Hall, Berg, Bo-Kaap, Guga S’Thebe and the Mouille Point lighthouse, which fall under his Zabalazaa Design project. Atang attempts to capture the image of each building in a timeless, minimalist way, with each drawing annotated with GPS info for the thoroughly hi-tech visitor. His work has been showcased as far as Dubai, Germany and Australia.
His favourite cities? New York; Dubai (for its ‘edgy architectural vocabulary’); Vienna, because its Baroque buildings ‘give the city a theatrical feeling, like you’re stuck in the 1600s’; and Joburg, for the juxtaposition of different developments.