The cog-in-the-wheel metaphor has never been visualized quite as beautifully as it is in artist Federico Babina’s new series, Archimachine.
Babina’s 17 fantastical machines represent 17 different countries with gears made and operated by signature architecture. Each country’s most famous buildings become parts of a surreal Rube Goldberg-style contraption, rendered in national colors and decorated with trademark visual motifs (the United States’ spangly stars and Canada’s maple leaf, for example).
The project explores how “architecture is a fundamental piece in the construction of identity of places and of people who inhabit them,” Babina writes in his artist statement. “This mechanized representation of architecture presents a narrative exploration of a country and its culture.”
Based in Barcelona, Babina draws architecture obsessively–he has a fanboy-like approach to buildings and their designers–and he illustrates his work in unexpected, eye-popping ways. He imagined what it might look like if famous artists designed buildings; he drew an alphabet as it might be designed by 26 famous architects; and he depicted the architecture of classic films.
Archimachine is especially reminiscent of the early infographics of Fritz Kahn, who depicted societal and scientific systems with fantastical visual metaphors.