Our very talented friend Federico Babina has been responsible for some of ArchDaily's most popular posts lately. The creativity behind his ARCHISET, ARCHIMACHINE, ARCHIPORTRAIT, ARCHIST, ARCHIBET and ARCHICINE have garnered thousands of shares on social media. Since we loved Babina's serialized architectural illustrations, we were thrilled when he saw his latest set: the ArchDaily logo imagined in and around the world's classic architecture. Read on for our interview with the architect and graphic designer.
ArchDaily: Can you introduce yourself?
Federico Babina: My name is Federico Babina. I am an Italian architect and graphic designer (since 1994) that lives and works in Barcelona (since 2007). But mostly I've been a curious person (since forever).
AD: What's an interesting fact about you?
FB: Every day I try to rediscover a way to observe the world through the eyes of a child. Children are able to have a vision of things totally uninhibited and without the conditioning of the experience. Children's drawings are always amazing and beautiful in their spontaneous simplicity and clarity. I like trying to explain the world I see through different techniques of expression. I like the richness of the language and the diversity of its forms. I do not want to confine me in a prison of a style or shape.
AD: In what ways does your training as an architect affect your style as an illustrator?
FB: Any architect has to explain his projects through illustration and drawing. Design is the first way to give shape and body to a project. In this sense every architect should be a graphic designer. I was born with illustration. It’s been part of my life since I was a child. I started with book stories, I passed through the comics and then I arrived to architecture. Drawing and illustration and making architectural projects are, for me, one of the ways to recount and capture thoughts, feelings and emotions. Every project has a story and every project is a witness of a story. I 'm fascinated by the idea of being able to blend the world of architecture and illustration: transform the architecture in an illustration and illustrations in an architecture.
AD: Are you still practicing architecture? Do you prefer illustrating over designing buildings?
FB: I am an architect and graphic designer, and I work in both areas. I especially enjoy when the two disciplines meet and intersect. I combine (or attempt) architecture projects with personal illustration projects and other contract work. The common denominator is always trying to do what I love in the most freeing way possible.
AD: What does your creative process look like? Do you sketch by hand and then draw digitally?
FB: The first step and the most important thing is to choose what I want to tell through my work. Once I’ve found the generating element the next stage is researching to find the best way to describe and explain the concept. Then, I transform the idea into an illustration. When I create the illustrations I always use a collage of different techniques and programs. From hand drawing to vector and 3D modeling programs. These different ingredients allow me to achieve the desired atmosphere and mixture.
AD: Which architect or artist do you admire most and why?
FB: I have a special love for Le Corbusier’s work (it was my first love), but I don’t really like to make these choices. I do not want to make rankings; there are many great architects and artists and many fantastic buildings. Also nature leaves us examples of great architecture. Each one passes through various stages of formation and in each stage the references are changing. I do not necessarily admire all the artists or architects that appear in my projects, but this is not the important thing. The subjects I choose should provoke me a feeling, positive or negative: something that kindles a spark to give birth to an idea.
AD: In your opinion, what's the biggest challenge facing architecture today? Does your work take these challenges into account?
FB: Architecture is the people. It is made by people and for people. I can hardly see architecture as an abstract entity. Architecture changes with the society, follows it, and in some cases guides it. The challenge of architecture is to make our life better. Every day we live, see, breathe, touch and listen to architecture. I love when architecture is capable of surprising me, awakening unexpected sensations.
AD: Your work tends to look at the intersection between different disciplines - architecture & film, architecture & art, for example. Why? Why are these points of merger interesting to you?
FB: The idea is always to try to let the architecture speak a different language. There is a symbiotic relationship and an implicit partnership between architecture and art. Different art branches meet in many fields. I see my illustrations as a different way to describe the richness of architectural expression—especially the contacts with other disciplines.
AD: You also like to work in series format, taking one idea and portraying it in many different manifestations. What does this allow you to accomplish?
FB: The choices are guided by different reasons. There is not a common rule. There must be something that stimulates my imagination, some element that represents the starting point for a trip with the imagination. Series allow me to reinforce the concept and to explore it in depth. Each illustration in a series is like piece of a puzzle that makes up and gives shape to the overall idea.
AD: You are from Italy but live and work in Spain. Do you think travel is important for creativity?
FB: Certainly the environment that surrounds and accompanies us is an important component in the formation and construction of our sensibility. But I believe in people and not in their home countries. There are curious brilliant people who embark on fascinating routes regardless of place and time.
AD: If you weren't an illustrator, what profession would you attempt?
FB: Definitely a musician, today. Yesterday I wanted to be an actor. I do not know about tomorrow....