For his Cities series of artworks, designer Peter Olschinsky has built urban landscapes of near-overwhelming detail. Stripped of their occupants and any sign of order – there are no streets, pavements or signs – Peter has created almost abstract textures of architecture.

Buildings are literally piled on top of each other. Without defining details these forms are reminiscent of sprawling, organically grown urban environment from Hong Kong to the slums of Mumbai to the back streets of the city of London.

His latest series, Cities IV, co-fonder of the Austrian studio Atelier Olschinsky Peter has torn apart his cities to expose their internal forms, creating artworks that are awash with beams, RSJs and other elements of construction. We asked Peter for an interview about the project and he kindly obliged us.

DA: How did you come to work on the first Cities project and how have they grown over the course of them?

PO: “I have always been fascinated by artificial worlds, [especially those] created for films and video games. I loved their visions of wandering through unknown environments ,and so I came to create them myself. [To do this] it was necessary for me to start working with 3D modelling software.”

“For the Cities projects, I was most influenced by Katsuhiro Otomo´s vision of New Tokyo in Akira, and also the visual design of Blade Runner movie.

DA: What did you want to do differently with Cities IV?

PO: “I wanted to free myself. {Across the previous Cities series,] I spent weeks on raising city blocks and I could have created many more. There was a point when I realized that it was time for this to come to an end, so I started to deconstruct them.” 



DA: How do you compose and build such intricate pieces?

PO: “It´s all about playing around in the beginning: building blocks, finding the right angle, setting the lights. [However,] the most important part was to develop the textures and shaders to get the visual effect I wanted to show.

“My aim was to create really powerful randomised visual abstractions. I´m not that worried about what process I have to go through to achieve this. There was a lot of experimentation and eventually I found a way to reproduce what I had in mind.”

DA: What tools do you use to create them?

PO: “I started by building blocks and texturing them in Cinema 4D, then I rendered the images in multiple passes. Most of the work was done in Photoshop, where I combined several layers, set the colours, repainted certain parts and used filters. The workflow in Photoshop was [different for each of the elements], there were a lot of [experiments with technique that] led to surprising results."

DA: Will you be selling prints of this series, as you have done with previous ones?

PO: “Yes, we will. The Cities series has been a great success, and we released Cities III as prints a few days ago. Cities IV will be available on our shop very soon.”

DA: What are you working on currently?

PO: “At the moment we’re working on several jobs. One of our favourite ongoing projects is the next issue of our magazine Nevertheless, which will be published in June.”