Preston-based studio Design By House has created a series of striking prints called Landmarques. They're based on the forms of famous landmarks from the Angel of the North and the London Eye to the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower.
The project was self-generated and the prints can be bought online at DesignSupremo for £30 each. We caught up with Design By House's Conor Dardis to discover how they came to be.
DA: What's your background?
CD: "We are a graphic, web and branding studio formed a little over a year ago in Preston, Lancashire. Myself and Jen had been working together at another agency for a few years and decided to form Design By House. Outside of the client work that hits the studio, we've always had self-initiated projects in the mix exploring the possibility of design without deadlines and objectives."
DA: Where did the idea for this project come from?
CD: "The project really started with an aerial sequence of The Statue Of Liberty on some late night TV. The lines in Liberty's peplos (the classical Greek women's dress draped around the figure) and the strength of the statue's form jumped off the screen and something so familiar suddenly looked new.
Researching the story behind Lady Liberty fueled the idea to try and represent the iconic form in a way that didn't just succumb to the silhouette."
DA: What did you want to convey with the works?
CD: "As we began to work on other landmarks and developed the style into a series, we talked a lot about using colour to assist a sense of place that is woven into the story of any landmark. We wanted people not only to see the landmark but also see the location. The vibrant oranges and yellows used in Christ The Redeemer (above) try to evoke the colours of Carnival and Rio. The blues in The London Eye (below) and The Sydney Harbor Opera House (below, middle) place the
viewer beside water. The bright pinks in The Taj Mahal (below, bottom) remind us of the rich colouration of Indian saris and spices.
DA: Had you created works in this style before? If not, how did you develop this? If so, how did you adapt it to this project?
CD: "The style developed as we worked on the series. There isn't a strict set of rules that govern the designs but there is certainly a formula we've developed that works across all nine. Using a range of pale to deep colours gave us the ability to define certain details and hint at areas of light or shadow and give the designs movement and depth."
DA: How did you choose the landmarks?
CD: "Some were self-selecting and impossible to leave out, The Eiffel Tower (below) for instance, others became important because of the story. The Taj Mahal (above) was built as a mausoleum by Emperor Shah Jahan as part of a promise to his wife never to remarry after she died giving birth to their 14th child. Having read about that story, working on that design took on a different meaning, and meant it had to be included in the series."
DA: Which landmark proved the trickiest to adapt the style to?
CD: "The Tower Of Pisa took a lot of tweaking. The form itself isn't as distinct as the others when stripped down and we needed to tease out small detail where possible to give it the same feel as the other designs.
"Of course the 'lean' really helped but we didn't want to just rely on that. We are really pleased with it now and when the prints arrived at our studio, in some ways, it was the one that gave us the most satisfaction."
DA: Which is your favourite and why?
CD: "Probably The Motherland Calls (below). The form of the statue itself is beautiful and we love how the colouration of the design works with the female form and how it also conveys strength and some of the coldness of communism.
"Unfortunately, the statue itself is beginning to lean due to groundwater level changes and there are fears it will collapse which would be a real shame."
CD: "What are you working on now?
DA: "Alongside work for our client roster, we're working on a new set of designs in a similar style as the Landmarques series entitled Legends, and a collaborative project with two other design agencies -- one from America and one from Australia -- which is proving very interesting. We'll keep you posted."