Urban artists salute their cities' architecture
Enthusiasts worldwide illustrate windows, buildings in personal blogs.
In big cities, little details are often lost in the bustle. But for the searching eye of an artist, compelling architectural flourishes are difficult to ignore. And a growing number of artists and designers are using personal blogs to pay homage to the architecture of their hometowns.
It all began in New York with José Guízar’s Windows of New York, a paean to the eyes of the Big Apple’s buildings. The blog first grabbed public attention in 2013 and, ever since, Guízar has been posting new illustrations depicting more and more of New York’s countless windows. With a colorful palette and clean graphic style, the illustrations transform windows – something mundane – into something visually striking.
This week: A portrait of Little Italy on sunday. 174 Grand Street http://t.co/RhT2dA7i76 pic.twitter.com/EZz9Qf6kAW
— Windows of New York (@WindowsofNY) March 2, 2015
The depictions on Windows of New York are deceptively simple, using basic shapes, clean lines and plenty of color. While the focus remains on the architectural character of the window, intriguing details help establish a connection between the fixed, unmoving window and the action and life of the surrounding city, as well as the character of its inhabitants. In one illustration, a cat peers out through the shutters; in another, a potted plant wilts over the edge; and in another, snow gathers on the ledge. Elsewhere in the series, air conditioning units and signage serve as further restrained reminders of the life happening beyond the glass pane.
Where Guízar went, other artists and architecture enthusiasts soon followed. After seeing the Windows of New York blog, São Paulo-based Nara Rosetto began to take note of her hometown’s windows and discovered a wealth of material. She soon began creating window illustrations for her blog, Janelas de SP. Though the concept of the blog is similar to Guízar’s, the style is markedly different. Rosetto’s windows are delicate and hand-drawn.
Tel Aviv-based designer Avner Gicelter was also inspired by Guízar’s blog. “I love the concept of creating a project that is dedicated and focused on glorifying a certain element we encounter on a daily basis and give no special attention to,” he told From the Grapevine. “It's a unique and amazing opportunity to let people see the world through the designer's eyes and the 'Windows' project does it in the most elegant and enjoyable way.”
Around the same time as he stumbled upon the Windows of New York projects, Gicelter was on the hunt for a new apartment in Tel Aviv. During the process of searching and going for viewings, Gicelter found himself increasingly captivated by the city’s buildings. “An old dormant passion for Tel Aviv's unique architecture was awakened and I got more interested in the building's façade rather [than] in the apartment we were looking for,” he said. Inspired by Guízar’s blog and driven by his own increasing preoccupation, Gicelter decided to launch his own passion project, Tel Aviv Buildings.
Just as Guízar focused strictly on windows, honing in on their outlines, shape and detailing, and removing them from the wider context of the full building, Gicelter isolates the distinctive façades of Tel Aviv. Removed from the streetscape and accentuated by the bright background, the images emphasize the lines and proportion of the design, highlighting details which are so often neglected by harried and distracted passers-by. The scope of buildings presented on Tel Aviv Buildings is wide, highlighting the range of diverse architectural styles that populate this Mediterranean metropolis.
Since he first launched the blog in 2013, Gicelter has illustrated 78 buildings, four of which have been animated by The Hive Professionals studio for a series of videos.
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