Future Capital: The 2014 Wallpaper* Architects Directory exhibition in London

Future Capital: The 2014 Wallpaper* Architects Directory exhibition in London

Wallpaper’s annual Architects Directory has made the leap from page to exhibition space once again. Featuring 20 practices from 17 countries and four continents, the ’Future Capital’ show is running for the rest of the month at Two Pancras Square in King’s Cross.

The exhibition is being held in association with Ceramics of Italy and includes large-scale reproductions of the specially commissioned artworks featured in the magazine. Created by the London-based artist Richard Kolker, the works are showcased within an immersive, bespoke installation created by Robert Storey with lighting designs supplied by Davide Groppi. Pieces include the award-winning swaying, blade-like Sampei, Omar Carraglia’s wall-mounted Mira display light, and Q, the concrete cube uplighter designed by Alberto Zattin.

Richard Kolker works extensively using photography and 3D rendering software to explore the physical world, whether it’s recreating the floor plans of long-lost asylums as monolithic, anonymous entities, or recreating iconic artworks through either physical reconstruction or tools like Google maps. We spoke to Kolker about the commission and his approach to creating original artwork for 20 of the brightest and best young architecture studios around the world.

What was the brief and how did you respond to it?
Well, it was really open - an image to represent the work of each practice. I was concerned that I didn’t just want to create a series of visualisations in a similar style to either the architects’ drawings or photographs. Instead I wanted to create a unified set of images showing the diversity of the work while simultaneously offering a stylistically related series.

How have you reinterpreted these twenty houses?
I was given several hundred images, plans, visualisations and drawings of varying degrees of complexity from which I created 3D computer models of buildings, a single one to represent each practice. I created a virtual ’still life’ set into which each building was placed, lit with a single, parallel light source to represent the sun and ’photographed’ with a virtual camera and rendered out as a simple photographic, computer generated image. I took care to texture the models appropriately from the visual details I was given, but as my brief was visual, as opposed to an architectural one, I didn’t worry if these were not 100% in line with the architects’ design.

What’s your technical approach (software packages, etc)?
I use Maxon’s Cinema 4D for model making. I used to use Autodesk’s 3ds Max, but switched to Cinema 4D several years ago. I feel it’s designed as a more ’complete’, fully integrated package. It’s very intuitive, which makes complicated tasks far more manageable. I use Next Limit’s Maxwell Render as my render engine. It’s an unbiased render so it is technically very ’photographic’, both in terms of use and results.

How does your work respond to the emergence of photorealist imagery in architecture?
I didn’t want to create a photoreal representation of the building but, in most cases, a photographic representation of a model of the building. I didn’t want to illustrate the environmental context of the work, but just the architectural elements themselves. Simulated photography is a large part of my practice, but the level of photoreality depends on the particular brief. Photoreal visualisations are a natural consequence of developments in software, rendering engines and hardware capabilities, not just in architecture, but in photographic advertising imagery too. Agencies are aware of these developments and commission increasingly realistic photographic style work.

’Future Capital’ runs from 13 to 30 June at Two Pancras Square, King’s Cross, London N1C 4AG. Opening hours are 10am - 7pm on Monday to Friday and 12pm - 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibition is part of the London Festival of Architecture.

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