Dean Monogenis does not design houses, but he should. His paintings of outlandish homes on impossible sites capture the imagination in a way that real-life architecture rarely does. My only question: When can I move in?
Monogenis became interested in architecture after the loss of the World Trade Center and the race to rebuild. "When that happened I realised that they [the buildings] were like people in that they could live and die," he tells Wired Design. "They had a finite, organic existence." Living in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of New York gave Monogenis even more insight into the frenzied development that followed. "Buildings started sprouting like mushrooms," he says. "It was as if, we as a global community had agreed to react by moving even faster forward."
A closer look at Monogenis's paintings reveals structures which are not quite finished, and construction sites littered with cranes, cones and scaffolding. Some of his landscapes are populated with once-futuristic technology: geodesic domes, radio towers and pop-up campers. In a few of the scenes, nature appears to be reclaiming the classic architecture, a la Planet of the Apes. It's as if the entire series is based on an architect's renderings for a massive speculative development planned for a growing population, unearthed long after that civilisation had vanished.
As for Monogenis's own domestic environs, he grew up in a traditional white brick building in New York City, but soon found himself gravitating towards more contemporary design. "Now I live in a new-fangled condo with black bricks and lots of dull aluminium trim and glass," he says. "Not sure if where I lived influenced the paintings, but I think my work influenced the kind of building I live in now." [Dean Monogenis via Wired Design]