The Intersection of Architecture and Sculpture - A Visionary Approach

Photo by Sebastiano Ragusa

My philosophy - Your home, inspired by the intersection of art and architecture

As an architect, my journey has been deeply influenced by my passion for combining architecture with the artistic essence of sculpture.

My name is Natalia Giacomino, and my architectural philosophy is rooted in the belief that a well-designed space is not just about functionality but also about the art that resides within its structure. Architecture is a form of living sculpture, a harmonious blend that defines the intersection of art and science, where every line, curve, and material choice tells a story.

Natural Light and Lighting Design in Architecture

One of the fundamental elements in spatial design approach is light. I believe that light is not merely a functional aspect of architecture but the essence that brings a space to life. The interplay of natural light within a house can transform it from a static structure into a dynamic living organism. Light influences our perception of space, creating moods and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the interiors. I take inspiration from architects like Carlo Scarpa, emphasising the rhythm of light, shadow, contrast and simplicity of form and asymmetry in order to create contemporary spaces, rooted in modernist architecture, design and art.

Left: Staircase by Carlo Scarpa, Castelvecchio Museum Restoration, mid 20th century. Right: Natalia Giacomino.

The Role of Light in Architectural Design

Creating Ambiance:

Light can evoke emotions and set the tone of a room. Soft, diffused ambient lighting creates a calm and serene environment, while direct, sharp light can energise and highlight architectural features. Each approach provoking a different emotional response in the occupant of the your space.

Accent Lighting Defines Space: 

Light helps define and separate spaces within a house. Strategically placed windows and skylights can create visual boundaries without the need for physical walls.

Enhancing Materials:

Different materials react uniquely to light. The texture of wood, the sheen of metal, and the transparency of glass are all enhanced by the way light interacts with them. This interaction can add depth and richness to the overall design. 

Architecture as Living Sculpture

In my work, I aim to merge the principles of sculpture with architectural design. Sculpture, to me, is about form, texture, and the play of light and shadow. When these elements are integrated into architecture, they create spaces that are not only functional but also visually and emotionally engaging. A great example of modern abstract sculpture, I use elements of in my work, is the art of Romanian modernist sculptor Brancusi, known as the pioneer of modern abstract sculpture (below).

Principles of Sculptural Architecture

Form: Every building I design starts with a form that is inspired by natural shapes and organic structures. These forms are then refined to balance aesthetics with functionality.

Sculptures by Brancusi

Texture: The surfaces of my buildings are carefully chosen to add tactile and visual interest. From rough stone to smooth concrete, the textures I choose play a crucial role in how a space feels.

Light and Shadow: By treating light as a material, I create designs that change throughout the day, enhancing the sensory experience. The sun's movement casts different shadows and highlights the various aspects of the structure, making it a living, breathing entity.

The Intersection of Art, the aesthetics of built environment and architectural lighting design

My First Project in Dulwich, London

My first significant project in Dulwich, an area of London where I have lived since moving the UK, is a testament to my architectural philosophy. This project allowed me to fully explore the relationship between architecture, sculpture, and light.

My Design Process

Dulwich, London

Site Analysis: The project began with a thorough analysis of the site. Understanding the plot's orientation and the path of the sunlight was crucial. Dulwich, with its unique topography and lush surroundings, provided the perfect canvas.

Concept Development: Inspired by the natural beauty of Dulwich and the principles we see in the work by sculptors like Brancusi and his contemporaries, I envisioned a structure that would blend seamlessly with its environment. The concept was to create a home that felt like an extension of the landscape, with flowing forms and natural materials. 

Brancusi, sculpture inspiration

Orientation and Light: The house's orientation was meticulously planned to maximise natural light. Large windows were positioned to capture the morning sun, filling the living spaces with a warm, golden glow. Skylights and clerestory windows were used to bring in illumination from above, creating a sense of openness and connection to the sky.

Interior and Exterior: Inside, a grand staircase with fluid, sculptural lines became the focal point of the home. Outside, the landscape design included sculptural installations that complemented the architecture and engaged with the natural surroundings.

The Dulwich project resulted in a home that is both functional and inspirational. It stands as a piece of living sculpture, where the residents can experience the changing light and shadow throughout the day. The use of natural materials and organic forms creates a warm, inviting atmosphere.

As an architect, my goal is to create spaces that go beyond mere functionality. By combining the principles of sculpture with architecture and emphasising the fundamental role of light, I strive to design places that are living works of art. My first project in Dulwich reflects this philosophy, showing how thoughtful design elements can transform a house into a luminous, sculptural haven.