Propaganda is defined as a way of spreading misleading information in order to manipulate the masses. With the idea of progress, that is essential for development, the notion of an utopian progressed society also follows. The desire for a utopia (u-topos), of the Greek word for a place that is not yet here, may provide a pretty nice situation for propaganda enter. Since topos means place, and architecture understands the constitution of place, we come to those two beings connected in propaganda. But how?
Architecture in propaganda is usually used as a demonstration of power, disregarding the actual needs or abilities. Picture says more than a thousand words, through history the big influence of emblematic posters formed many upcoming events, opinions and ideologies.
In that sense, we could do the analogy with a recent model of propaganda in architecture, where false images, that are the result of an abusive use of digital effects, are projected in order to shape a feeling of fantasy. Illusion and fantasy is where pleasure dances, but they are always contradicting the reality.
Our idea is to show the extreme of influence that propaganda can make to our way of living. When something becomes a trend, because of effective advertisement-picture, and spreads around like disease.
Giant pinkish urbanization as the new ‘American dream’. Covering structures, was directly inspired by the essential meaning of propaganda and that’s hiding the truth, in this case roots of architecture. The implicit will led by elites to hide diversities of city behind these colorful facades is to create a monochrome surrounding, and take away the spirit of a place. Once full of surprises, cities are slowly turning into pink continuum of minimalistic shapes due to the fashion diktat. Only remarkable buildings and greenery stay untouched, as reminders of what once was a city.
Carried by drones, skin is easy and above all fast to install. Supporting the technical advantages of contemporary era, daylight system is installed within the skin so one can choose weather and time he wants to see from his living room, pointing out the fact that the nowadays’ window became the screen as a main social source. In that wonderful environment freshly reshaped, the only mark of individuality becomes the number printed on the facade.
Haliç Tersanesi Havuz in collaboration with Félix Roy and Laura Villeret
The proposal looks at the transformation of Haliç Tersanesi, the former shipyard of Istanbul in Turkey, into a swimming pool for the summer season and a floating garden during the winter. Additionall elements as the warehouses were offered for public use and rehabilitated into a maritime school, a university complex whose focus in on ships directly connected with the Bosphorus, including a boat stop, a library, a cantine and an all around a public space surrounding the pool.
Who influences you graphically ?
It would be complicated for me to define precisely one or two graphic designers that inspire me, every kind of graphism, from that which is handcrafted to that which is software created influences how I operate. Lets just say that I am influenced above all by images that are ‘crafted’, where you can glimpse the work of their creator, when the use of many techniques reaches a certain coherence and make it poetic. In that sense I don’t especially look to the future for inspiration, but rather am a bit nostalgic of the times when hyperrealism wasn’t considered the main way to represent architecture. I would say that Christo’s collages are quite stunning, and I am really into the collages made in the late 60’s and 70’s by Hans Hollein or these subversive groups of young architects that are Zünd-Up or Haus-Rucker-Co, no to mention Archizoom or Archigram.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude_MoMA
Recently I am drawn to the work of brilliant arTchitects, as Wes Jones, Beniamino Servino or even Point Supreme. I remembered they were a real source of inspiration at the beginning of my studies and now, in my future practice, I would love to enhance my style in order to succesfully combine these old references of handcraft with the realism that new softwares can offer, they are both powerful methods of communication, which each have limitations.
What defines the method of representation through which you choose to reveal a project?
The method through which I choose to articulate a project is a bit random and mostly linked to the idea behind the project. I cannot say that I have a specific style that I try to copy for every project, in this sense the most important thing that I keep in mind is to mainatin a level of coherence between the graphics and the story I want to share. In this sense representation is the result of the process through which I conceive of the project.
In a previous project, I used the physical model as a method of communication. It was easier because with my team we tested and maniuplated this either directly or indirectly (at times taking photographs and then maniupluating these), it was a very nice way to experiment new hypothesis. As much as I can, I try to adopt the most efficient method of representation in order to try new designs. In the case of the swimming pool in Istanbul, the global project was developed as a team with Félix Roy and Laura Villeret and because the scale was closer to the urban scale than the architectural scale, we used the informatic tool and we realized a 3d model in order to understand and build the entire site. When I had to design the swimming pool as a part of the urban design it was quite natural for me to use this 3d model as the base and to create an image from it. Nevertheless in the end, for the final presentation, we produced a laser cut physical model where the burnt aesthetic was appropriated as we wanted to reveal and emphasise the industrial atmosphere of the real site.
What is your take on the architectural montage?
I like to organize my images, from the background until the edge of the project and the project itself. Each element should not have the same precision, and should reveal what I prioritise. In order to create these differents layers in the same image, I usually seperate what is the environment, what is the architectural project and the people.
I try to make the visualisations more lively thanks to basic tools, as playing with the duality of black and white and colors, texture or not, between the rough 2D picture and the smoothness of a basic 3D. I hope that through how I construct each image I am able to give tips that guide the spectator’s gaze, from the most important to the decorative, one should be able to understand quickly the central focus.
How and to what extent does the realm of the architectural competition effect the type of images produced?
In architectural competitions, there is this sort of, let say, sub-competition that is exclusively graphical, it comes back to another dimension that sometimes dominates the content itself. Usually it’s strongly affected by the trend. Trend as you have in fashion design or and other arts. For example, theerw as a time when vintage overflew the design world, and more and more architects were inspired by this old school bauhaus sytle. Suddendly realistic renderings were sketchy and axonometry was in. Nowadays I would say the trend is to revisit post-modernistic ways of thinking. For competition ideas especially and thanks to new way of representation, we try to erase the border between fantasy utopia and reality, it prints in our mind a certain aspect of dreamed reality even stronger.
How do you deal with working in a team when developing the various drawings? is it a collaborative effort?
Once the idea behind the project has been thoroughly thought through, the conversation shifts to what is the most efficient way to communicate how our design will get used by the public, how it was technically conceived. Even if the drawings and the physical models are the main aspects which allow for a connection to the site and the project we are designing, the use of informatic tool become often necessarly. Then we can divide the work basically in three parts ; the 3D modelization, the render of it and the photoshop, diagrams, plans and explicative axonometries. I would say that is a collaborative effort because we all depend of what the previous did before but moreover the discussion about the graphic style and all feedbacks allow to open eyes about what we are producing really and thus to get a coherent result.
In the case of propaganda flash competition that I made with Simona Popadić, we agreed on the same type of representation thanks to quick tests. We wanted to create this sort of plastic reality, sort of dystopia happening by the fault of society and mass media. A picture where only nice weather and bright colour dominate. The colour pale that we chose, even if we work on differents images, is easy to adjust and after effect are on same parameters. Sometimes, it depends of project itself, it’s crutial to have different presentation styles that speak about same but from different points of view.
What is your take on the flash competition? How can it liberate/restrict creative production?
The propaganda competition which was a week competition actually, we had to manage seriously our time. More than other project we had to schedule our week in order to be able to produce something properly in the end. It obliges us to be strong in our idea, concept, no time to waste trying many proposals, it requires us to be confident about our design. Half of the week was about thinking, writing, drawing a lot, walking also, and when we had the feeling to catch something interesting we started to make final renders.
Because we can not make a presentation for explaining the project unlike school projects, in that case images must to be more efficient than never, seductive and talkative in the same time.
Flash competitions are always more liberating. Usually, you have to deal with the problem brought by the topic really quickly and there is no time to overthink it. In that case, results are more inovative and proposals are unique. I guess there is also the fact that you don’t have to go deeply in the details. Strong concept is enough and it doesn’t have these obstacles that can happen then.
Most of the time, I like to add some references in my projects, when it’s not a cutout friend or two, I enjoy to add people that can enhance the purpose of my project. For the case of the swimming pool in Istanbul, with the add of black and white cutout people the desire was to remind the old use of the turkish river by previous generation. And in the case of this flash competition, people and vehicules are picked from the movie adaptation of the Ray Bradbury’s book’s Farenheit 451 by François Truffaut, we hope that this detail helped the jury to see traces of dystopia, to understand in which atmosphere our project is.
David was born in France. In 2010 he enrolled at the Interior Design school in Angoulême, after which he chose to pursue Architecture studies at the ENSA Nantes where he got his Bachelor degree. In 2015 he applied for the Student exchange program at CVUT Prague where he completed one year of Master studies. Following this year abroad, he spent his summer in the friendly architectural firm called Mjölk Architekti, in the north of Czech Republic. Last year, he submitted his master thesis on anthropomorphic architecture, livable forms influenced literaly by the human body. He is currently back in Nantes to finish his diploma project.