There seems to be two camps in terms of representation: people who love silhouettes and people
who love people. We’ve all made both, and quickly we seem to put ourselves into one camp or
the other. There seems to be very little middle ground.
I like people. The starkness of the silhouettes populating the scene give off a coldness, a
ghostliness, of a not yet conceived project. It seems to keep a project in another world entirely—a
world devoted to the abstraction of the render, pristine with shiny materials and black figures.
Zaha Hadid employs the use of the silhouette, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who
has visited her work. There’s inaccessibility to it, a lack of a connection between the computer
rendering and the actual build work. The intangible computer model somehow is translated into a
built architecture, but the blatant disrespect of the human experience still evident in the obvious
struggle to build the unbuildable. She employs the silhouette with shiny spaceship materials to
create a sterile, pristine world.
On the other hand, Archigram conveys scenes that are composed more of people than of
architecture. In a sense the people communicate more the interpretation of the architecture rather
than the scale. The architecture is more present in the actions and interpretations of the people
than the actual build object.
I’m not interested in communicating with clients, which most people say is the reason why
visualization firms such as Luxigon and Labtop employ the use of the person instead of the
silhouette. The innocent bystanders who somehow end up in our renderings exhibit their
emotions, personality, and style, giving another layer of interpretation for the viewer. Very
carefully we curate our renderings to present the people we like, the people we identify with,
the people who will interact with our projects the best even just through the fantasy of the 2D
rendering. We invite the same people back to the party over and over again.
So what are you, a horse or a zebra?