The 3D model renderings of architect, illustrator, and digital artist Joakim Dahlqvist are a tug-o'-war between reality and imagination — a constant tension reflected in the never-ending quest for design innovation. The smartly arranged objects in Dahlqvist's 3D renderings would have one think each piece required thorough, calculated thought every step of the way. They do, to an extent.
But after I had a short phone conversation with Dahlqvist, his creative thought process seems to lean toward an experimental and intuitive side that may not be easily detected in his work.
Always having an interest in collecting things and spotting interesting details in his everyday surroundings, Dahlqvist began piecing together the renderings as a "bureaucratic" exercise. The renderings were also a uniquely productive way for him to archive the items he had collected over the years.
When he was invited to exhibit his work at the WUHO Gallery in L.A., he explained that he took it as an opportunity to create without thinking too much. "I was having input from people the whole time and it’s still to me a kind of a mystery," he explained. "...[The works] emerge a little bit by themselves — the ideas of these things are surprising me, also."
When asked if his renderings had any regard to the digital, idealized architectural renderings typically produced, Dahlqvist answered with a flat-out no. Even with the surreal, almost fantasy-like quality of the work, he emphasized that his ideas were based on what he observed in reality.
"It's an exercise of modeling something that exists rather than a visualization of something to be built," Dahlqvist said. "[It is] one of the largest learning exercises I have done. I think most of the things that I like are things that actually exist — ideas of new things because they also contain other ideas about the city and about architecture too."
Although Dahlqvist wants his renderings as a whole to focus more on the present, as opposed to what the future holds for today's urban cityscapes, he feels they also have a hint of optimism and "naive wishful thinking", perhaps with room to evolve. "I think I'm kind of tired of this dystopic vision, and you know, also the over-tech vision of the future," he added.
As Dahlqvist continues to explore the built environment in his own way, his work is a reminder that sometimes letting intuition take over can potentially lead to new ways of getting in touch with our own surroundings.
You can still catch a selection of Dahlqvist's works in his Piminski exhibition, currently at the WUHO Gallery until Sunday, Feb. 23.