It’s difficult to call out the pure beauty of individual buildings when they’re all crammed together. To celebrate the elegant geometry of the world’s finest urban architecture, Israel-born and London-based designer Yoni Alter choose landmarks he admires in 35 cities and distills those landmarks into their basic shapes. He then renders them to scale in delightful, neon illustrations, in a series called Shapes of Cities, which playfully and beautifully simplifies the urban jungles we roam.
Alter was inspired to start the ongoing project back in 2012 while walking around London’s Hyde Park. “I noticed the circular London Eye (the ferris wheel) intersecting with the triangular point of a skyscraper,” he tells Co.Design. “They were two perfect geometrical shapes, and it inspired me to look at what other shapes London had.” He started playing with abstracted shapes of London buildings, in Adobe Illustrator, and rearranged them like puzzle pieces until he found the most satisfying composition.
Soon, he’d made similar geometric profiles for 15 cities. After posting them on his website, he started getting email requests from urbanites all over the world, asking him to illustrate their cities. “One thing that’s fun about the research element is that it’s like getting to travel to a new place without physically going there,” he tells Co.Design.
Alter has turned the London composition (only) into a lovely modular sculpture made of colorful plexiglass. As with the prints, colors overlap and create a third unexpected hue in between the buildings.
On why he loves urban architecture so much, Alter says, “It’s like seeing art without going to the museum. It’s free. In New York, it’s quite crazy–I can never put my head down. I’m always looking up.”