Surrealism: Create beyond our subconscious

in Architecture+Design2 years ago (edited)

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We prosper because of our imaginations. Our imagination allows us to be childish and curious, which helps in conceptualizing fresh ideas. It is critical in our successes in innovation and the comforts we have today. We can use our imagination to reach a world of possibility, in which we can turn our dreams into things and share our stories. Our creativity soars high due to our unlimited imagination. The more we use it, the more we can create a better world than yesterday, in which it is like a muscle that strengthens through practical exercises.

Our imagination enables us to picture out things we want to do. Some people will create vision boards to some extent, believing what they put into it will happen. I remember back in high school that one time our teacher ask us to create our vision board. I still can remember what I put into are, some of which, like having a job related to inventing and publishing a book. What I have mentioned came true. I am in engineering and did publish a book. I may not believe that it will happen, and I think it is coincidental due to my hard work, but I guess being able to picture it out helps solidify what we want to achieve. One vital point is, imagination is a key to our success.

Creative people used imagination to some great extent. They write outstanding novels that charm their readers, paints that speak emotion visually like how renaissance master did, while others compose music that even time could not bury its existence. All of which start from mental imagery that we called as imagination. It is not just the creative artist and writers who benefit from it. Scientists and engineers lead a revolutionary concept that occurred first in their wildest thought experiment, like Einstein's relativity and Hawking's black holes. We can believe that things stand out when we work with our imagination, which gives us good stead of experiencing creating ideas.

We may interact with our subconscious mind through good mental pictures through imagination. If we think our dreams can come true, we will strive harder to make them a reality. Some philosophers solidify that our imaginations are essential in thriving. When we were kids, we were incredibly imaginative and inventive. Some believed that when we harness the creative kid inside, we can create better designs and systems. Some inventors, artists, and architects used their imagination and the inner child to have fresh, even bizarre or peculiar, takes on outdated concepts that may slingshot new contemporary ideas as a new design revolution.







We usually attach Surrealism to arts and not really into architecture. Surrealism aspires to change the human experience by delving deep into chaos and latent urges that we can imagine. It also calls for embracing irrationality and having crazy dreams to unlock our creative mind to its full potential. Surreal artists express that their work as a philosophical movement often juxtaposes bizarre subjects pieced together.

Surrealism may appear difficult to understand; hence it doesn't confine itself to a distinct theme of shape and form. It thrives with creative imagery, experimental artistic style, and subconscious-inspired subject matter. Surrealist Salvador Dali would describe that people love it due to its mysteries and ingenuity. Surrealism seems outside the box in terms of talking design, which often people see as bizarre but pleasing.

We can relate Surrealism to automatism and biomorphism. Automatism is a literary method that we depend on our subconscious for inspiration. It opens up for the art form with their dream-like writings. On the other hand, biomorphism relates to art forms that are organic and biological. The aesthetic approach of Surrealism mixed what was absent in previous art styles and design philosophies, combining aspects from each.

Andre Brenton provided resources for surrealist thinking that encourage us to examine its role in architecture and how it forms our reality. Brenton's views destabilize the boundary between dreams and reality, influencing how we design built space. Surrealists are fond of creating interiors for architecture that are sometimes unsettling and peculiar. Several artists gave their surrealist touch on the built environment, from haunting dreamy urban spaces to melting planes. Even Dali has a take on surrealist architecture.







Salvador Dali transforms a living space that resembles Mae West's face. He accomplishes it together with architect Oscar Tusquets. They let the furniture with glossy red cover be her lips, her nose is the chimney, and the abstract image hangs in the wall as her eyes. The blonde hair-like curtain resembles West's hair. Le Corbusier's curiosity and imagination give us some of the peculiar architecture we knew to date. Aside from his profound and distinct architectural design philosophy, Le Corbusier has a take on Surrealism too. He designed Maison de Beistegui Apartment Roof Garden. The roof garden has fanciful furniture, a missing ceiling, and a useless fireplace.

Le Corbusier also designed Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, having timeless appeal due to its sculptural form and curvy roofs. The chapel stands out due to Le Corbusier's interpretation of a sacred place with the quirkiness that plays with our spatial perception. Xavier Delory's paper-thin skyscraper draws out an imaginative building design that, at a glance, seems ordinary. Delory's skyscraper symbolizes vanity and fragility, which is a form of criticism of contemporary architecture that dishonors the history of the lace by renovating it to look modern despite the design has no connection with the existing one. Delory's work only left the facades and demolishing the others. His take on this project put the building facade as a canvas of a surrealist painting.

Our contemporary architecture takes a lot of influences from classical movement and even Surrealism. We may not associate architecture to the surrealist as to what we do to the arts. But Surrealism thrives within the prism of architecture, and we can see how it influences new bizarre and peculiar architectural styles in these contemporary times. Many artists and even architects continue the Surrealist legacy with their dreamy representations that inspire our design.

Again, our imagination permits us to be playful to come up with fresh ideas, like how surrealist master paints captivating imagery despite, at a glance, seems peculiar and bizarre. It enables us to reach a realm of possibilities to turn ideas and our stories while dozing out into tangible design and tale. Some become revolutionary. Surrealism never stops at the laps of Dali. It propagates to influence the built environment in which we live. When we encounter bizarre facades, we can tell ourselves that our imagination and creativity are limitless. Again, the more we utilize it, the more we can make our world a better place.

Check out my previous post on Architecture and Design Community




  1. Alice Yoo, The Art of Surrealist Architecture, The Modern Met

  2. Kelly Richman-Abdou, Exploring the Experimental and Avant-Garde Art of Surrealism, The Modern Met

  3. Evan Pavka, How Surrealism Has Shaped Contemporary Architecture, Archdaily

Photo Descriptions and Credits

  1. Le Corbusier's Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp wearing the timeless appeal due to its sculptural form and curvy roofs. | Photo from Gili Merin

  2. The Melting Building in Paris | Photo from Reddit

  3. The interior design of a Surrealism suite at Malmaison Hotel | Photo from Malmaison Hotels

  4. Salvador Dali's Mae West (which can be used as an apartment) | Photo from Torrenegra, Delaina Haslam

  5. Rene Magritte's Time Transfixed, which shows a train coming out the walls | Photo from EMR

  6. Xavier Delory's paper-thin skyscraper | Photo from My Modern Met


"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."

I couldn't find a better quote that's as powerful as Albert Einstein's famous words. Visualization, as other people might say, is the world's best-kept secret for the realization of our dreams. In fact, it's also called the Law of Attraction. Scientific studies have already proven this.

In the realm of architecture and design, imagination is king! It's the foundation of creative thinking. Surrealism is simply a speck from the enormous capabilities of those disciplines but, it's still a byproduct of imagination, of course. And it goes to show how massive is its potential in transforming our world for the better. Excellent publication @juecoree.

That quote is one of my favorite from Einstein. Our imagination (visualization) will bring us closer to what we believed we can achieve, whether its life or in architecture (or any endeavor).

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Dear @juecoree, Your argument that Surrealism advances architecture to the realm of art is admirable.😄
I agree with the fact that the surrealist imagination has a great influence on the development of architecture!

By the way, I wonder what kind of benefit surrealist architecture can provide to ordinary people like me!😃

By the way, I wonder what kind of benefit surrealist architecture can provide to ordinary people like me!

Maybe, we can indulge ourselves with the visual content of surrealist architecture, or influences us to imagine space in a different way. Enjoy a piece of !PIZZA.

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I love to see such unique and surreal architecture as there are far too many bland 'boxes' that we have to live in, work in, socialise in, so to see or be in one of these truly artistic and imaginative buildings inspires more creativity and happiness.

Thank you for writing such a wonderful post about surreal reality.

Indeed surrealist architecture is unique and fresh for our eyes. Enjoys some !PIZZA

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And fun, don't forget the fun art too! 😃

That was such a refreshing read, and a well timed recap on what's important.
I was a huge fan of the vision board, I don't know why I stopped though.
Time to start again :)

I appreciate that you liked the write up. Yeah, vision boards are cool. I did stop too, but I wrote down my goals now than having a vision board. Starting a vision board that would be awesome. Enjoy some !PIZZA

Yeh, I still write my goals down on cards, I just don't look at them often enough haha.

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