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Invisible Cities: The Latest Architecture and News

Intricate Illustrations of Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities'

Lima-based architect Karina Puente has created a new series in her personal project: to illustrate each and every "invisible" city from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel. Her collection, which ArchDaily published in 2016, and again in 2017, consists of mixed media collages, drawn mainly using ink on paper, brings together a sequence of imagined places – each referencing a city imagined in the book.

Invisible Cities, which imagines fictional conversations between the (real-life) Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the aged Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, has been instrumental in framing approaches to urban discourse and the form of the city. According to Puente, "each illustration has a conceptual process, some of which take more time than others." Usually "I research, think, and ideate over each city for three weeks before making sketches." The final drawings and cut-outs take around a week to produce.

Puente’s work is set to go on display in the San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on the 2nd February 2019. You can learn more about the project from Puente’s official website here.

Sofronia. Image © Karina Puente Sofronia. Image © Karina Puente Oliiva. Image © Karina Puente Armilla. Image © Karina Puente + 11

BDA Prize 2019: INVISIBLE C'VILLE

The BDA Prize, an annual design and ideas competition, exists to generate forward-looking ideas to better our community through design and dialogue.

Three Principles of Architecture as Revealed by Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities'

Ah, Invisible Cities. For many of us, Italo Calvino’s 1972 novel reserves a dear place in our libraries, architectural or otherwise, for its vivid recollections of cities and their curiosities, courtesy of a certain Marco Polo as he narrates to Kublai Khan. And while the book doesn’t specifically fit the bill in terms of conventional architectural writing, it resists an overall categorisation at all, instead superseding the distillation of the cities it contains into distinct boundaries and purposes.

For though there is a certain kind of sensory appeal that is captured in the details of places, the real beauty of Invisible Cities lies in the masking of underlying notions of time, identity and language within these details – a feat that is skillfully accomplished by both Marco and Calvino. With this in mind, here are three of many such principles, as revealed by the layered narrative of Invisible Cities.

Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated (Again)

Lima-based architect Karina Puente has a personal project: to illustrate each and every "invisible" city from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel. Her initial collection, which ArchDaily published in 2016, traced Cities and Memories. This latest series of mixed media collages, drawn mainly using ink on paper, brings together another sequence of imagined places – each referencing a city imagined in the book.

Invisible Cities, which imagines fictional conversations between the (real-life) Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the aged Mongol ruler Kublai Khan, has been instrumental in framing approaches to urban discourse and the form of the city. According to Puente, "each illustration has a conceptual process, some of which take more time than others." Usually "I research, think, and ideate over each city for three weeks before making sketches." The final drawings and cut-outs take around a week to produce.

Zaira. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen Diomira. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen Dorotea. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen Fedora. Image © Karina Puente Frantzen + 16

Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities', Illustrated

Lima-based architect Karina Puente has a personal project: to illustrate each and every "invisible" city from Italo Calvino's 1972 novel. The book, which imagines imaginary conversations between the (real-life) Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the aged Mongol ruler Kublai Khan has been instrumental in framing approaches to urban discourse and the form of the city. According to Puente, who has shared six drawings with ArchDaily, "each illustration has a conceptual process, some of which take more time than others." Usually "I research, think, and ideate over each city for three weeks before making sketches." The final drawings and cut-outs take around a week to produce.