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Atelier Manferdini

Venice, United States


Elena Manferdini, principal and owner of Atelier Manferdini, has over fifteen years of professional experience in architecture, art, design, and education. Atelier Manferdini has completed art and architectural projects in the US, Europe and Asia. Notable among the firm’s projects are the Pavilion for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Bianca, a three stories boat in Japan, and a series of interior design renovations in Los Angeles.
Elena Manferdini received a Graham Award for architecture, the 2013 ACADIA Innovative Research Award of Excellence, and she was selected as recipient for the Educator of the Year presidential award given by the AIA Los Angeles. In 2011 she was one of the recipients of the prestigious annual grants from the United States Artists (USA) in the category of architecture and design.
Elena currently teaches at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) where she is the Graduate Programs Chair.

CAB 2 Contribution

Project Overview

Building Portraits

Atelier Manferdini’s dimensional wallpaper builds from an earlier set of works titled Building Portraits. These portraits—ranging from small acrylic objects to fully immersive wallpapered environments—all originate from frontal photography of renowned Chicago buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. Manferdini’s interest in the portrait as a photographic mode lies in the insistence of the frontal view. This is a view that, in architectural representation, is most commonly referred to as the elevation: a measured drawing that is flat to the page and without the distortion of perspective. Using front on photographs of van der Rohe’s Chicago towers, which were renowned for their attention to the grid facade, allows Manferdini to bring the portrait photograph close to the architectural elevation. We read the grid of the facade flat to the page, while the tower windows and supports become isomorphic with the printed page. Out of these portrait photographs, Manferdini’s creations proliferate layers of Miesian grids, delaminating into a woven surface with manifold colors and interlaced textures; thus, the image becomes information to be worked on and transformed.

The City is the Site