The master of 3D renderings - Trends-Tendances on PC

The master of 3D renderings – Trends-Tendances on PC

If architecture can no longer do without images created by computer, it happens that the “digital painters” transcend the genre by creating real works of art. Filippo Bolognese, whose clients include several Belgian agencies, is one of them.

Although he spends most of his time on a computer screen, having established himself in a few years as an international reference in the field of 3D renderings of architecture, Filippo Bolognese, 36, is not really you might call a geek. Neither addicted to the mouse, nor infused with pixels, this Italian based in Milan is nevertheless renowned as the master of digital painting, a discipline which consists in creating ultra-realistic digital images which neither the architects nor their clients seem able to happen. Question of efficiency. “The computer-generated image allows the sponsor to project himself much more easily than with a classic drawing, even if it is very beautiful”, recognizes Pierre Lhoas, co-founder of the Brussels architecture office Lhoas & Lhoas, who appealed in 2017 to the talent of Filippo Bolognese for the Kanal-Centre Pompidou art center competition.

Although he spends most of his time on a computer screen, having established himself in a few years as an international reference in the field of 3D renderings of architecture, Filippo Bolognese, 36, is not really you might call a geek. Neither addicted to the mouse, nor infused with pixels, this Italian based in Milan is nevertheless renowned as the master of digital painting, a discipline which consists in creating ultra-realistic digital images which neither the architects nor their clients seem able to happen. Question of efficiency. “The computer-generated image allows the sponsor to project himself much more easily than with a classic drawing, even if it is very beautiful”, recognizes Pierre Lhoas, co-founder of the Brussels architecture office Lhoas & Lhoas, who appealed in 2017 to the talent of Filippo Bolognese for the Kanal-Centre Pompidou art center competition. To adorn their projects with their finest finery, seduce the competition jury and try to win the cup, many of them turn to the alchemist of the graphic palette and his team made up of around ten collaborators, all architects of training. Snøhetta, David Chipperfield or Christ & Gantenbein are among the renowned architectural firms that rely on the pictorial sensitivity of their service provider, which dedicates 85% of its activity to international, often prestigious, competitions. The work of this craftsman and his brigade is based on a subtle blend of hyperrealism and visual sobriety. Here, there is no excess of textures, reflections and special effects but an asserted minimalism which has no other purpose than to fade behind the architectural project. A nuanced approach that Filippo Bolognese, who also studied architecture, attributes to his passion for drawing. “The desire to succeed in representing reality through drawing has led me since my childhood to observe my environment with great attention, he explains. The techniques to which I have always felt closest are chiaroscuro and watercolour.The observation and technique acquired by hand drawing have allowed me to understand how matter reacts to light and, over the years, I have learned to render the same effects in using the computer and Photoshop. The images produced by our studio have a 3D base but they are then all digitally processed ‘by hand’. It is in this last manual phase that the transformation takes place.” A great admirer of Renaissance painters, fascinated by the elevations of Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), Filippo Bolognese places himself at the very top of his personal pantheon, the vedute, these urban views which were disseminated in Rome at the end of the 17th century before to triumph in Venice. A reference not so far-fetched with today’s world when we know that to perfect their technique, the Vedutists used the camera obscura, an optical device stolen from Dutch painters which allowed them to make very precise topographical surveys. Canaletto himself, the great Venetian landscape painter of the 18th century, swore only by the camera obscura he carried on his boat to immortalize the city of the Doges. “It is curious that more than 300 years later, the assumptions of representation have remained the same despite the fact that the tools of the trade have changed.” As a keen observer, Bolognese does not hesitate to cite a canvas by Canaletto, Westminster Abbey with the Procession of the Order of the Bath, painted in 1749, among his favorite models. “In this painting there are three dominants: yellow, red and blue. We also try to follow the ‘rule of three colors’ which seems to us to contribute to ‘purging’ reality so that the building appears as the absolute protagonist without the eye being distracted by too many colors or elements.” The romantic vision of the easel and Saint Mark’s Square crossed by the shadow of Giacomo Casanova has its limits, however. Called upon for projects as diverse as the upcoming renovation of the Kunstmuseum in Basel, the next terminal at Schiphol Amsterdam airport or the future headquarters of the VRT designed by Belgian architects KGDVS, the designer admits that the most delicate part of his job lies in communicating with the client because the “task is not just to create a ‘beautiful image'”. Explanations: “We receive a project made by others that must be understood, interpreted and only at the end represented. We arrive at the final image after a journey carried out in close contact with the architect. It happens very regularly that the latter – especially during the first collaboration – pushes us to develop points of view that we do not recommend and which, in the end, do not satisfy him either.The client often proposes to make an angled view so that ‘everything’ can be seen from a single image. We understand the need but from experience we also know that seeing everything at once is not always helpful. Sometimes it’s confusing, sometimes it’s highlights less strong or less successful aspects of a project, which should not be highlighted”. Nor is the context of the competitions anything like a still life when, in the final shipping phase of the project, the pressure increases and the hours get shorter. The tradition of the “cart”, synonymous with sleepless nights and countdowns, does not spare the rendering manufacturers who invariably intervene in the last meters of the final straight. “Despite the source of stress that our work represents, we are honored to be able to work during architectural competitions, which corresponds to a hectic moment when a project takes shape, tempers the CEO. Personally, I find that giving expression to a idea, to a building, which may never see the light of day, has something noble about it”.

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