Anonymous (Part 3 Architecture Student's)
SYH is a small design studio, focusing on both architectural illustrations, graphic design and built forms. Although we have explored branding and graphic design, currently the majority of our work is exploring speculative architecture and architectural illustrations. In terms of actual built projects, at present we have one small housing extension which is currently on site and a few speculative concepts in the pipeline. The majority of SYH have either recently qualified as architects or are currently studying Part 3.
Could you give us a background to the members of your team?
We're all from an architectural background and all currently work in separate architectural practises in London alongside SYH.
You are illustrators but also practicing architects, are you looking to grow SYH Design into an architectural practice in its own right or venture further into the realms of illustration?
The majority of our work to date has been illustration, graphic design and branding. As previously mentioned we have a small project currently on site and although we'd like to do more construction projects there's obviously a fairly steep learning curve for architects with relatively little construction experience. Studios like Weave or Assemble show how smaller scale, artistic practises can transfer on to larger, more complex schemes which is something we'd like to explore in the future.
The images you produce vary in architectural style and typology from hotels to coffee shops, what inspires your choice of illustrative subjects?
There is a common theme throughout our work when it comes to the initial conception of an illustration idea. All the work begins in the same fashion - as an obsessive interest in a single building or a more broad architectural typology. It's within the research, modelling and drawing of the building you begin to unpick and understand it. An example would be reading a Guardian article about low paid workers living in 'cage homes' in Hong Kong and how this became a starting point for an exploration into the extreme's in which humans live. Although a 'cage home' is not formal typology, it's the concept of density pushed to its extreme. Drawing the Grand Budapest Hotel became an exercise in understanding the formation of different stylised elements to create a fictionalised building.
All of your drawings are isometric is there a particular reason behind exploring this drawing technique?
Isometric removes an emphasis on a single focal point. Isometric drawings - as opposed to a standard perspective image - allow for a very uniform reading of an image, prompting the viewer to explore and examine it in its entirety. Where a perspective may place an emphasis on the a person doing a specific act, an isometric places an even emphasis on the person, the act and the surroundings in which they are doing it. Our illustrations are about all three aspects and not any single aspect alone.
What is your process when producing your drawings? Your illustrations appear to have a hand drawn sketched style is this the case or do you combine this with digital methods?
Original concepts and layouts are quickly sketched out to brainstorm ideas - however, once the basics of the design has been agreed, the project is moved to an entirely digital format. Having said that, even though the image is entirely digital, it continues to be tweaked and modified as the process progresses. Generally, the basic elements of the composite are modelled in 3D. The shadows and lines then exported in 2D to Illustrator where the line weights can be adjusted to suit. Once the basic scene has been formed, it's exported to Photoshop where an digital stylus is employed to add detail. Using an digital stylus adds the variety which comes with hand drawn illustrations.
Is there anything or anyone in particular who has influenced your illustrative style?
We were all brought up reading Tintin and Where's Wally? and I think that's something that comes through in the illustrations. Also generally within architectural visualisations over the last 10 or so years there has been a shift away from the ultra slick, ultra glossy rendered images associated with practises such as Zaha or Fosters. Instead a growing trend to a more textured, analogue approach to architectural visualisation has emerged. Within this realm our illustrations exist, focusing on detail, texture and how people occupy architecture. Instagram is a rich source of visual inspirations; Robert Fresson, Lorenzo Gritti, Deathburger, Tina Lugo, Alan Berry, Doug John Miller, Glen Harvey, Vincent Mahé, Bruno Mangyoku & countless more. As previously mentioned, architectural practises like Assemble, Weave, OMMX do great work.
If you could offer one piece of advice to our architecture student followers what would it be?
You don't get good by giving up
Finally, where can people find out more about you and your projects?
Regular updates at www.instagram.com/syh_design.
Giclee prints available at https://syhdesign.bigcartel.com/