Monday, March 4, 2013

Lebbeus Woods: A Fantastic Graphic Designer/Architect/Installation Artist

Lebbeus Woods is a relatively recent discovery of mine. Introduced to me by my flatmate, I find his visions for a future of architectural structures fascinating, inspiring, and impressive. The fact that he had such immense vision for a world where architecture not only served a purpose far beyond what it serves today, but also has unique aesthetic characteristics is completely and utterly admirable, given the time where a lot of architects were designing tall, sleek high rises.

Lebbeus was designing buildings for a warzone. He designed building that merged the resurgence of a city with its destruction. The almost de-constructivist nature of his work leant towards these fantastic, shattered constructs that never looked like they could stand. And yet that is why his work is so fascinating.

Another grand idea of Lebbeus was to dam the Manhattan river and reveal the gorge where the river flows and build an "underground" city. Ripe with claims that his sketches and designs belonged more in Science Fiction novels rather than in reality, Lebbeus challenged the long-standing preconceptions about architecture.

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This piece of design work was actually done for the Berlin Free Zone, post fall of The Wall. The dramatic rift in the building feels to me like a created emphasis on the rift in the city. The dramatic edges and extreme structural rift in the building feels like something is deeply wrong with it.

Now, I hardly have any claim to be any sort of good architectural background to be able to critique these to any degree of a commercial critic. But that's okay, because I'm not critiquing, I'm really just giving my spin on what I think he was trying to do, and maybe throw some mild speculations out there. Don't take this too seriously.

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This image is of the plans for New York that I was speaking about before. I think it's a fascinating concept, and it may even be a concept we might have to explore more in depth as the population of the planet grows and we run out of usable space. And it will happen. So maybe Mr Woods doesn't have such a bad idea after all. The most astounding thing about a lot of Lebbeus' work is that not a lot of it was done on a computer. Most of his work was done with traditional mediums, resulting in a fascinating amount of work, all displaying superb amounts of skill.

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I love this piece of his. It's a fantastic use of colours and shapes, and I really love the way the city isn't a completely linear development. The city he's designed or inspired by (I'm not sure which!) seems to developed in a very understandable, almost organic way. I'm not sure if the red sections are meant to be highlighting something or if they are meant to be something else. Either way, the way they intrigue me.

Just as this man's work intrigues me. I might be posting some more of his work in due course. Either way, his work is pure inspiration, and hopefully I will be able to use it in some way.

Rest In Peace, Lebbeus. Your work will inspire worlds to come.

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