The Architectural Screenplay
False Mirror Office
False Mirror Office is a collective of Architects, outcome of a fortunate encounter between six professionals sharing the Genoa Polytechnic School as common background. Each member has experienced projects of all scales working in international renowned architecture firms, developing different perspectives and complementary skills that reflect in their work.
Having elected Europan as our test ground, we set our primary goal in the disclosure of the ambiguity of the almost ubiquitous and overwhelming concept of Adaptability. This solution for Strandveikaia is the result of a discussion about contemporary approach to historic cities, typology and social strategies: a plan that works with time and against the generic city.
Who influences you graphically?
An easy answer could simply be to admit, once and for all, our belonging to the diffuse hyper-post-modern attitude in shaking everything and everybody we are inspired by at the moment of starting a new work. A medium boiled answer – the politically correct one – would make a list of some radically fashionable references such as the ’50s collages by Alison and Peter Smithson, either the architectural background of the ’60s – in particular the Italian and English Radicals’ production – the Greeks’ collages of the ’80s, O.M. Ungers’ drawings and so on.
The hard boiled one is – at the end of the day – seeing our graphic production as a combination of references not directly coming from the architectural world, like could be the Eyvind Earle’s preliminary drawings for the Sleeping Beauty, the 1947’s Pëtr Pavlovič Eršov cartoon Konëk-Gorbunok, or some Nintendo’s masterpieces, like Earthbound, Yoshi Story or Zelda, the Wind Waker.
What is the effect and purpose of a circular format?
More than just a kind of format, we see this shape as a proper spot: since telling a story it’s one of the prerogatives of our work, the circle perfectly highlights a frame of the architectural screenplay.
The simplicity and autonomy of this platonic shape helps to iconize a peculiar detail of the project.
However, we strongly believe in the “Bullshit in a circle” effect: whatever architectural background, including the ugliest masterpieces, properly inserted within a circular frame, can communicate something it wouldn’t be normally able to do, appearing more meaningful, captivating and charming.
Your images feature a very colourful palette, how would the images be received differently through the use of monochromes?
Colour is just one between the multitude of variables within the graphic composition. Changing a variable – such as opting for b&w images, despite of colourful ones – simply brings to another result. A result we didn’t want to achieve in the first place.
Colours help to define the mood-board and the contest in which the project is conceived, merging intentions together with inspirations. The colour palette we adopted directly comes from the background of Trondheim; since identity has been one of the main keywords from the very beginning of the development of the False Mirror, even before designing our proposal we already knew how it had to look like in regard to textures, patterns and colours.
How relevant are the people featured in revealing the qualities of the space?
Although from a completely different point of view – comparing it to the relevancy given by using colours and textures – the choice of the characters is as much important. We specifically talk about characters in purpose, since we believe visualizing a proposal is nothing else but telling a story. Most of the people come from the historical photographic archive of the city. We wanted to express a kind of time machine effect, whereby the old and the new live together and an hybrid perception between the realistic and the fantastic emerges from the composition.
A different argument has to be addressed to the characters within the circular frames discussed above; cut-out from several famous artworks, they are a mean to express very specific actions and space performances. For example, the diver dressed in a vintage swimwear- being him an ironic, easy recognizable character for our memory – achieves the result thanks to the exasperated action he is performing.
It would be reductive to interpret the use of drawings as only a mere graphic intent: the abstraction level they own, paradoxically, helps the overall visualization process to reach the specific environment we were intentioned to describe.
What is the reason for the continuous image within TFM-07?
This specific composition is an answer inserted in a longer term research: the aim is to investigate always different technics of representation, here focusing on a series of reflections upon the binomial space/time in the architectural drawing. Therefore, the multi perspectives composition owns graphical and conceptual values at one time: it enables the observer to focus on different parts of the project. Meanwhile, it refuses the fragmentation of the traditional architectural representations, including the will to allow the reading of the architectural subject as a continuous, uninterrupted spatial novel.