Whether or not your interest circumambulates around the field of visual arts, this one isn’t one to miss!
Salvador Dali, born in Figueras, Spain was to quote, a painter, print maker and ‘a mad man’. This quirky essay intends to explore the probable ways in which someone like Dali would approach architecture.
To start with, let us extinguish the idea that Dali inspired architecture hasn’t been made; regardless, the purpose of this piece is to scrutinize the lesser explored limbs of mainstream architecture which may have been dismissed, forgotten or to say the least, unexplored. We intend to take you, the readers, on a journey through Dali’s imaginary brain child, as we understand it.
He would take us back to ancient times, reviving Khajurao carvings, calling-out Adolf Loos while summoning back times of ornamentation but at the same time dreamy and futuristic. Dali-architecture or Dadarchitecture! would be erotic, surreal and transportive. What we know as blobitecture today, would be just a negligible, shameful glimpse of the absurdity, he would bring to the table. Interior walls mimicking texture of human skin, potentially made of an ETFE like material would send chills down a user’s spine while every step would be followed by an illusion, alternate turns confronted by juxtaposition of images and not to mention a literal lobster shaped inbuilt central communication system, we predict not too different from our centralized air conditioning systems of current times.
His architecture olfactory experience would be of circus-carnival caramel popcorn and freshly cut meat, seducing a user to feel disgusted but curious to want to sniff over and over. Back in the 20s Paris surrealists, with whom Dali had an affiliation sought build a “greater reality” of the human subconscious over reason. Dadarchitecture! , we imagine, would aspire to do the same.
Shock, question, admire and confuse, all at once.
He would like to design everything, from structure of the building to the forks on the table, just as Frank Lloyd Wright preferred to, inducing a subconscious imagery to all things tangible – from furniture to openings and beyond.
Let us take joinery details for instance. Would you be surprised if in a Dali designed building you say gigantic, over the top Romanesque columns intersected the roof with frivolous, ornate Chinese joinery? With gargoyle inspired sculpted faces hung from an edge, spewing out water into a deep stone well. Adjacent to which runs a ladder, drawing your gaze away from the floor, onto the ceiling which is painted just as the Sistine chapel by Michelangelo. There you would see the vaults that held the roof but more prominently, Dali and Gala’s feet. As if, in that very minute of experience, they were your gods. Up in heaven. And you an entity, devoured by their architectural monument.
Large spaces would, maybe, open into smaller ones which would lead to a middle sized one; for you to ask yourself if you’ve been engulfed by a Matryoshka doll.
Furniture wouldn’t be too hard to pick, since he had done his fair share of designing. There would be no end to clocks within spaces and valanced drapes would be as dramatic as one would imagine. Placement of furniture would also be such that architects may want to put out the feisty Van der Rohe philosophy of ‘less is more’ away from their books till they were done examining Dadarchitecture!
Dali windows would show the sky, blue and cloudy. They would be concentric and with lenses of all kinds. He would steer away from regular glass, fitting openings with reflective spheres and magnifying glass. Whereas, for doors, they would be replaced by visual barriers, allowing segregation while letting go of constraints within massing.
Dadarchitecture! Would have multitudes of spaces, be it residential, commercial, large or small scale, all of different volumetric qualities. But one important space present regardless of functionally, presumed would be a spiritual hub with chapel like qualities, tucked somewhere quiet. Where poetry, painting and prayers would happen. For obvious reasons, the space could not be devoid of a Freudian couch and a cat.
While another important space would be a work space as he held his rest and dreams at a high pedestal.
Currently a student of Architecture at the University of Sydney, Shristi Sainani is an artist and a certified interior designer. She is an absolute enthusiast for learning – an avid traveller, reader of anything non-fiction, a lifter! Yes, she could be your typical gym bro or even you local potter. But her all time favourite job is the one she’s doing now, for RTF— writing about architecture!