A Rosetta Stone of sorts on the cover shows a graphic evolution of a word: ‘formgiving,’ an English verbal combination calqued on the Danish term for design. The transition from archaic glyphs to the galactic typography of rockets augurs the incommensurate time horizon that this ambitious book by Bjarke Ingels’s ubiquitous firm purports to tackle.
Formgiving is the last of a trilogy that began with Yes is More, the manifesto that catapulted the young Dane to starhood, and continued with Hot to Cold, written already from a perch in the firmament of architecture. Like them, the new volume unfurls a generous selection of BIG projects, but whereas its predecessors adopted alternative narrative schemes – the comic book format of Yes is More and the thermodynamic classification of Hot to Cold – Formgiving retrieves the classical tripartite division to present a chronology of past events, present creations, and future aspirations.
From the stellar genesis to the still remote colonization of the cosmos, this logarithmic temporal line delves into how architecture gives form to our lives and sparks small but important revolutions. Ingels detects six constants that fuel the studio’s work, presented in the thick central chapter in accordance with what they offer users.
Its sustainable and playful philosophy shines through, and in the evocative coda it dares go beyond our orbit, proposing habitats on extraterrestrial ground. Small steps for an architect but a radical giant leap even for a discipline that always looks forward.