'Des Yeux Qui Ne Voient Pas...': The smartphones


  • Luca Di Lorenzo University IUAV of Venice




Three of the most influential chapters of Le Corbusier’s Vers une Architecture are collected under the common title ‘Des yeux qui ne voient pas…’ (Eyes which do not see…). Liners, airplanes, and automobiles are shown as the expression of the powerful beauty of practical form: honest, simple, functional and technological. These very famous pages remind us that form is not only derived from precise typological choices or from reasoned morphogenetic diagrams, but it could also be a direct expression of the Kunstwollen.

What are the paquebots of the twenty-first century? Which buildings embody this new paradigm? This graphic analysis starts from the statement that one of the ‘not seen’ features of this era is the smartphone. The subject of the survey is the first BMW Guggenheim Lab, designed in 2010 by Atelier Bow-Wow. Described by the architects themselves as a ‘travel toolbox’ or ‘pop-up fly loft theatre in the city’, this compact architecture is the incarnation of three interesting formal qualities usually associated with smartphones: the clear division between the hardware and the ergonomic user interface; the possibility to operate different functions (or software) in the same space (or screen); and the real and virtual connection with different urban situations.

Author Biography

Luca Di Lorenzo, University IUAV of Venice

Luca Di Lorenzo (1987) is a PhD student of the Villard de Honnecourt international doctoral programme in architecture at the Università IUAV di Venezia, in cooperation with the TU Delft, the ENSA de Paris-Belleville and the Universidad de Sevilla. His PhD thesis,Generation aXo: Modernist Legacy between Abstraction and Ideology, focuses on the axonometric projection as modernist tool in relation to its anachronistic revival in the 2010s. He is part of the teaching staff of the Architectural Design and Architectural Theory courses at the University of Camerino.


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