Ben Sparkes

Instagram: @spelchek_

Responding to:
‘Summer Houses of the Future’, American Carpenter and Builder (Aug 1909).
‘Floating Dungeons’ in Albert Rodiba, La vie électrique (1890)

The technique for recreating the ‘Summer Houses of the Future’ was done by using Illustrator along with lighting and filters in photoshop. I started off by making a vector recreation of the original image. I then added textures to the design such as the water texture and the reflection in the windows to combine vector with a real-life edge to it.

I then took it into photoshop to add the background image and adjust the lighting so the drawing fits in more with the background. For the finishing touches, I added a smooth black border to the image to draw your attention to the centre of the design. This also gave the piece a dynamic edge to it.

My response to the image that I chose, enabled me to recreate the image in a modernised way but also include some of the existing details from the original design to also be updated to the current day.

I decided to create a vector illustration of the original image as I wanted it to have a similar feel to the existing design, which also included a modern touch. I have continued to use the minimalist house design which is used today. I have introduced Astroturf to cover the surrounding area with a vegetable bed alongside Solar panels for electricity.

In the original image, they have used an oil container but I have made it modernised by changing to solar panels to enhance efficiency and to be environmentally friendly. An infinity pool I feel would be appropriate if the original image was made in the 21st or future Centuries.

I have added a water container similar to the reference image. I feel the big change I have made to the original is that I have modernised the way in which this platform floats and moves. Instead of using balloons to support the weight, I have used large fans alongside the use of rockets towards the rear of the design for moving or changing direction. I changed the background to an image of clouds, as I thought this platform with a house could move around as well as be stationary in one location. I also thought the vector image of the clouds added more focus and was more fitting to the main aspect of the piece.

The technique for recreating the ‘Floating Dungeons’ image was all done in photoshop with the use of images, which were layered on top of each other to create depth. I used the pen tool in photoshop to create dynamic lighting and shadows so that the design seemed more realistic. I finally added blur to the foreground and even more blue to the background so it made the main ship have more focus on it.

My response to the images that I have chosen is that I wanted to reimagine the original photo as if that visual idea was in the 21st or future centuries. I saw the image as a colony of people who have made houses and places to live on top of this ship instead of using the original design idea of a floating dungeon. That said, I have modernised the elements in the image such as having a city comprising of skyscrapers designed onto a huge ship as I thought this was equivalent to today’s living.

I have tried to visualise the scale of the ship similar to the reference image. I decided to include big yachts which I have made to a smaller size next to the main ship to give a sense of scale. I have also added a vast shadow next to the main ship which casts down on the water next to the other ships to further my design ideology. I thought it would be a good and also modern idea to create the image with other images in photoshop so it would seem realistic as the original photo was a drawing.

I tried to picture what the original image would look like if it was a photo. I ended up using the background image of a sunset with a shore and hills on the horizon with the addition of another ship in the distance as this was featured in the original image. I added clouds and found an image of a wavy ocean which was also included in the reference image.