Article and Illustrations for Shht Magazine,
Ad Hoc Architectural Thought
Interview non_O_Jonathan Robert Maj
Who influences you graphically?
My eyes are restlessly, compulsively looking for stimulating visuals. I draw inspiration from various fields and disciplines that are not necessarily intertwined or logically linked, if not by my personal aesthetic. My influences range from architecture to cinema, from cartography to renaissance art. Multiple authors and references resonate with my imaginary for technique, composition and content expression but it is the programmatic will to escape hierarchies that ultimately leads me to ambiguity.
What dictated the materiality of the Concordia Lighthouse Competition?
Materiality is always the concretisation of ideas, the ultimate proof of the coherence of the design process. Following the conceptual framework of the project, a monolithic floating precinct is envisioned, where the decomposed elements of the archetype of the lighthouse can interact and be confronted. Balancing light and shadow, presence and absence, warm and cold, the dichotomy between mass and void is made explicit by means of contrast and juxtaposition of materials that not only reflect an architectural and constructive intention, yet a poetic intuition.
Whilst certain proposals are explored through textures and colours others are not as in the case of the Cemetery, what are both the reasons and effects of this?
Representation is malleable matter. It plastically conforms to time, taste and intention. Different projects, scales and degrees of complexity, hence require different means of transcription. Colours and textures help to give body to the illustration and make the hierarchy between the elements clear and readable, by suggesting a pseudo-realistic translation of the project and its consistency. Black and white visualisations, on the other hand, immediately enter the field of abstraction by operating a systematic subtraction process. It is the case of the ‘Cemetery of Laeken’, where strategy and reinterpretation are committed to severe, isolated architectural objects.
You explore different proposals through different means of representation, what dictates the choice of drawing used to portray a project?
The act of ‘projecting’, as other aspects of the Discilpine of Architecture, has to be put into direct relationship with contingency. Every story requires for an ‘ad hoc’ narration: as the scenarios and circumstances change, so do my words in search for the most balanced, accurate and beautiful description.
What influenced the type of drawings you used for the Island research article on lantern Journal?
‘Isole’ was greatly influenced by ancient and medieval cartographic representation, where the mixture of bi dimensional and three dimensional elements provided with a synoptic, comprehensive view. The need to communicate, in one single image, more information than a mere geometric transposition of the territory was felt with urgency. Geography and phenomenology are hence combined by means of figurative and iconic insertions triggering imagination and enhancing perception as constitutive part of the storytelling.
non_O was founded in 2013 by Jonathan Robert Maj. It Engages in Architecture, Design and Research projects. Unravelling through private commissions, competitions, publications and exhibitions, it explores scale and programmatic limits. With exclusion as a methodological pattern, it visualises contemporary and contextual scenarios, that uncover necessity through beauty.