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Architects in the Cards

Friday, May 6, 2016

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Maybe you can’t get your favorite architect on a trading card like your favorite baseball player, but thanks to an Italian artist, you can see them on playing cards.

Federico Babina, whose illustrations often touch on architecture as a theme, recently released a set of prints called Archicards. The set of 12 illustrations portrays famous architects on the face cards of a set of playing cards.

Oscar Niemeyer Zaha Hadid
Federico Babina

Babina playfully adds elements of each architect’s style into their individual illustration.

The figures in the series are “kings” Oscar Niemeyer, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn and Frank Lloyd Wright; “queens” Eileen Gray, Charlotte Perriand, Kazuyo Sejima and Zaha Hadid; and “jacks” Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Gerrit Rietveld and Walter Gropius.

Babina playfully adds elements of each architect’s style into their individual illustration. Niemeyer is surrounded by his characteristic modern curves and eyeball shapes; instead of a scepter, Perriand holds one of her signature chairs. Aalto’s card is dotted with unusual curves and abstractions.

The idea for playing cards with architects, Babina explains in an artist statement, was to bring out the playful side of an art often seen as very serious. “I always liked play as a form of learning; toys are often a prelude to serious ideas,” he writes.

“With playing cards we can build a house, create a castle and give shape to small architecture.”

If you purchase Archicards, though, you won’t be playing with a full deck: Babina says the illustrations are simply for sale as decorative prints, not as a functional game. (They’re available online in several sizes and styles.) Real cards aren’t out of the question, though. “Maybe in the future,” Babina tells D+D News.

Either way, it’s all about playfulness. “I had ‘serious fun’ making this deck of cards,” Babina notes.

More of Babina’s art: www.federicobabina.com.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Frank Lloyd Wright; Mies van der Rohe; Zaha Hadid

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