Understanding Space Through Movement



Understanding Space Through Movement


Carlotta Testa




Who influences you graphically?

I am a bit schizophrenic about my graphic references. I would say that I am in a sort of ping pong match between painters (such as Edward Hopper, Giorgio De Chirico and Jack Vettriano) and architecture photographers (such as Luigi Ghirri, Marcel Gautherot and Gioberto-Noro). They can be very different between each other, but I think that they all have in common a beautiful characteristic: all their works seem to be in a sort of a-temporal dimension, coming from a distant and mysterious past, which activates our memory and at the same time brings us into a space that is waiting to be discovered. I am incredibly attracted by this and I try to do the same in my images.

Moreover, I truly believe that architecture representation should not be limited to the simple description of a future “built-space”, but should, on the contrary, stop trying to represent reality (which by the way is impossible to do) and start to represent the atmosphere, the character, the emotion of a certain space. For example, what I love the most about Hopper and Vettriano paintings is that they are able to create a space which speaks by itself. In their paintings spaces can become, time by time, relaxed, hilarious, melancholic and sometimes even sexy.

You mention that certain images are developed as the result of a team effort, how does this work and to what extent does the nal product re ect a multitude of views and personalities?

In my opinion the final work is and must be one and homogeneous. If you can easily distinguish different views and personalities in both an image or a project it means that something, somewhere went terribly wrong. I can’t imagine for example, if in “The Sun Flowers”, painted by Van Gogh, each flower would have been painted by a different artist (one by Magritte, one by Dalì, one by Kirchner…) What would be the nal result? An incredible mess deprived of any meaning. I think that the final product must be not a juxtaposition, but a synthesis of the different thesis, and is mostly in this difficult work of synthesis that the project gains its strength.


What is the effect and purpose of the silhouettes chosen to inhabit your proposal?

Silhouettes have the great merit to introduce the human scale within the drawings. By saying this I am speaking not only about the dimensional scale, which of course is important, I am speaking, in particular, about the neo- renaissance of contemporary architecture or as I use to say our “post-crisis architecture”. These are the years of huge shifts of attention from the object to the subject within architectures projects.

“Architecture is like a great hollowed-out sculpture into which man penetrates and walks around.” A space is always observed and understood through a movement and the actor of this movement is a man. In this sense architecture becomes like a montage of images in sequence in which the spectators and their “mood” have a central role. In conclusion, Silhouettes are fundamental because there is a strong and mutual relation between humans and the space that they inhabit.


You talk about architecture drawings as contemporary paintings with more precise tools, what do you mean by precise and how essential is precision when it comes to portraying an atmosphere and emotion?

When I say precision I don’t mean the pursuit of “the perfect drawing”. Precision to me 
is more the Exactitude described by Calvino in “Six memos for the next millennium”: an evocation of a clear, incisive, memorable visual images; a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination. In this sense precision becomes very important to me. I used to paint since I was sixteen and since then I tried to express this exactitude in my paintings, failing every time. After a while I gave up with this idea and my paintings started to become more and more abstract and confused, on the contrary my architecture representation started to become more and more near to this idea of exactitude as I discovered, mainly in photoshop, the perfect tool to express the exactitude that my hands weren’t able to achieve.



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Carlotta Testa is an Italian student currently enrolled in a Master degree in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano. She has been selected for the “Alta Scuola Politecnica” program, which tries to establish a mutual work between the best students of Milan and Turin, from the diferent felds of architecture, design and engineering.

She completed her Architectural Bachelor studies in july 2015 with a fnal thesis project, “Storyboard Architecture”, on the Neo-Reinassance of contemporary architecture and the renovated importance of the human experience within spaces, together with the Brazilian architect, Marcio Kogan.

During her studies she worked for diferent frms, such as CAM architects and also collaborated with Mi-Arch editorial, doing interviews to architects and designers, such as Fabio Novembre. In 2015 she started to work as an assistant in the Design studio I held by Marcio Kogan and Filippo Bricolo at Politecnico di Mantova.

Moreover since she was sixteen she loves to paint and she keeps on practicing it together with architecture photography. All those passions are not isolated in a separate sphere, but merged together with architecture in all her design works.


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