Archibet is a book of 26 postcards by Federico Babina. It runs from Aalto to Zaha, by way of big names such as Gropius and Foster, and slightly more recherché ones such as Adalberto Libera, author of the wonderful 1930s Casa Malaparte in Capri. Also Quincy Jones, not to be confused with the musician and producer of the same name, purveyor of stylish California modernism to the rich and famous.
The first letter of each name is made into a little monument – a “small surrealistic building”, as Babina calls them – in the manner of the relevant architect, the P of Renzo Piano, for example, being held up by the cross-bracing of his Pompidou Centre. Sometimes the shape of letter and the architect’s style don’t match. The Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld is given a full-curved R, although he rarely deviated from straight lines and right angles.
Babina is Italian, lives in Barcelona, trained and practised as an architect, but also works with graphic design. Over the past 18 months, he has started publishing his architectural fantasias, in which three-dimensional structures are transposed to flat surfaces, realised with solid blocks of strong but subtle colour, and a wry knowingness about his subjects.
Sometimes, even more than wanting to be a film’s beautiful heroine or superhero protagonist, viewers are swept away by a desire to inhabit the mansions, castles, swanky bachelor pads, or sci-fi landscapes they see on the big screen. Such architecturally minded film buffs will drool over Archicine, a new series of illustrations by Barcelona-based artist and architect Federico Babina, depicting iconic buildings and landscapes from classic films.
“I have always been fascinated by the relationship between architecture and cinema,” Babina tells Co.Design. “All people consciously or unconsciously connect a movie with the space in which the action takes place. It’s like a box that contains a gift. The idea of the series of illustrations was to transform the ‘box’ into the ‘gift.’”