Misura is an imaginary contemporary architecture studio, inspired by Superstudio, a visionary Italian collective playing a major part in the radical architecture movement of the late 1960s.
The key themes of this client are exploring the ideas around the existence of architecture within the current environmental and social landscape, addressing issues such as climate resilience, the coexistence of urban environments and the natural world, and technological utopianism.
Their visual identity, based on the idea of using black and white geometric forms in a conceptual way, is a direct reference to Superstudio’s work.
Figma, After Effects
1 – Concept background
What I find captivating about Superstudio’s work, and why I chose them as inspiration for this client, is how incredibly fresh and relevant their work still feels today. Recognising the social and political aspect within their architectural practice, activism, making sense of the world transformed by capitalist forces and technological evolutions through intellectual experiments – these topics are as relevant and important today as they were 50 years ago.
On the creative side, I like the variety of tools and artistic mediums they used for these explorations – satire, dystopia, conceptual anti-buildings, and mediums such as film, photomontage, and striking visual imagery.
2 – Creative direction
The starting point was a black and white grid, inspired by Superstudio’s Continuous Monument. And similarly to their work, it is used to express conceptual ideas beneath the superficial guise of a simple, neutral design system.
On the surface, we see a minimalistic, rational grid-based design system, pretty typical for an architecture studio. But upon a closer look, unexpected details and imperfections start to reveal themselves.
For example, for typography, Satoshi by Indian Type Foundry, a modernist sans serif is paired with an eccentric Syncro Mono by Out of the Dark, characterised by confident, provocative serifs. Through this pairing, I wanted to take some of the edge off of the possibly too rigid feel and create a contrast between what corresponds to the future-thinking character of Misura with its counterculture spirit.
This tension between the modern characterised as universal, rational, progressive and the countercultural adopting a more emotive, somewhat irreverent character symbolises the tension between technology and nature, between going back to our nature or roots and moving away from it with technological progress.
3 – The grid
The grid’s strong, impersonal, geometric appearance is anything but natural. It thus relates to the striking visual contrast between futuristic buildings and natural landscapes, which invites a reflection on the imbalance between humans and the wider world that supports them. In Superstudio’s words, the “single continuous environment” of the grid was in fact “the world rendered uniform by technology, culture, and all the other inevitable forms of imperialism” – depicting Western rationalism pushed as far as it would go as a critical warning against the relentless urbanisation of the planet. The moving grid also has another symbolic meaning – its repetition and continuity represent the continuous movement that the world is undergoing (constant transformation, evolution, migration), and the importance of recognising that as practising architects.