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Why Are There So Many Calder Sculptures In Architects’ Renderings?

An architectural rendering needs to communicate what the final building will look like, but without the landscape, people and art that add character to it, the CG assets can end up looking dead. Hyperallergic noticed that in the last year alone, designers turn–with shocking frequency–to the work of the same artist: 20th century sculptor Alexander Calder, best known for his fixation with mobiles and primary colors.

Image: Mizner on the Green

But why? Surely there are many modern artists whose work conveys a similarly recognizable cosmopolitanism. Sutton explains that in part, it’s due to how Calder’s creations translate to CG. “In addition to their recognizability as iconic modern art objects, their bold colors and geometric forms make them eminently easy to turn into digital 3-D objects,” he writes.

Calder is so popular that many of his works are available from 3-D libraries for download. Two of the images, one from OMA and the other from Laurent de Carniere, prove how frequently CG artists use this shortcut. Both feature the same work, Calder’s 1974 sculpture Flamingo, rendered in two different colors.

And Calder isn’t the only one either; other artists whose work is frequently used include Mark di Suvero and Louise Bourgeois. But none come close to Calder’s dominance in render space. See all the CG Calders on Hyperallergic.SW