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Turning a Persian Rug Into a City

Babak Golkar makes architectural designs out of carpet patterns.

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Babak Golkar

What does a rug look like in three dimensions?

One answer: the work of Vanouver-based artist Babak Golkar. In a series of pieces over the past few years, Golkar, who was raised in Tehran, has been using the intricate designs of Persian rugs as blueprints for skyscrapers.

While painting over one such carpet in 2008, Golkar tells me in an email, "I started imagining the patterns as three-dimensional forms. Because of the intense color contrast of the dyes used in nomadic Persian carpets, the shapes began to vibrate if looked at for a long period of time."

Golkar had been playing around with architectural modeling software, and began to envision buildings traced from those shapes, which he then constructed out of acrylic sheets, wood, and white paint with help from Vancouver modeling firm B+B Scale Model.

He's since created a series of similar pieces, the largest of which, the site-specific installation "Grounds for Standing and Understanding" (pictured here), was built at the Charles H. Scott gallery in Vancouver last year.

All images courtesy of Babak Golkar.

HT: DesignBoom.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.