Several artists have attempted to capture what mental illness would look like in visual form. Now an architect has taken on the challenge and illustrated what mental illness would like if it were a house.
Federico Babini is an Italian architect and illustrator currently residing in Barcelona. His abstract architectural prints have elements of cubism and surrealism, with a touch of playful spontaneity. However, for Babini’s latest project, Archiatric, he went to a darker place. He used geometric shapes and architectural design to imagine the inner workings of the mentally ill mind.
Anyone who suffers from mental illness will be able to relate to these following images. For a more dramatic effect, you can also watch an animation of the project here.
Here schizophrenia is pictured as a home cut to pieces, something disintegrated. Also, a man is seen hanging off the edge of the home. One wonders the process Babini goes through before deciding on how he will draw an illustration.
Having dealt with bipolar people before, this illustration is very accurate. They really are split down the middle. One side of them is fine, pleasant and calm. There is another side that is chaotic, like the squiggles in the drawing above.
There are some things that scare some people so much that they want to puff up like a sea urchin to protect themselves from it. Your phobias could encase you in that spiny home and prevent you from truly enjoying your life. To keep with the ocean metaphor, this is how I feel about seaweed touching my foot in the water.
Of course the depression house is melting. It’s a slow, painful exhausting melt. The foundation melts beneath you as the ceiling comes oozing down in big globs down on your head. Umm… Not that I’d know.
Dementia is a degenerative disease, so it’s easy to see why Babini made pieces of the house come apart. With dementia, you lose your identity; you lose the pieces of yourself and your past that made you, you. It’s like the man standing on the edge in the illustration is just waiting for all the parts of his mind to slip out from under him.
Alzheimer’s disease is heartbreaking if you’ve ever had to witness it. It starts off as a crack in the foundation of the home. But the crack gets bigger and bigger, and eventually it will cause the whole house to crumble.
A place for everything and everything in its place. People with obsessive compulsive disorder tend to compartmentalize everything, like the shapes in the print above. People with OCD like patterns, especially numeric patterns. They'll have to do something a certain number of times to feel satisfied. They're also extremely organized and tend to be perfectionists.
Babini did a great job at visualizing the inward nature of people with autism in this print. There is a house within the larger home where sufferers of this illness live. But it is a home that only they have access to.
If you’ve ever felt paranoid about something, you know what it’s like to overthink everything. It’s like the people in the house are trapped by this maze of thoughts. It’s also impossible to tell if the lines are overlapping them or they are standing in front of them. This could be representative of the uncertainty in the paranoid mind.
This is one of the more obvious visualizations in Babini’s Archiatric. The only thing the anorexic does by not eating is eat away at themselves. Indeed, the house has two big bites taken out of the side. The spinal column (nerve center) and the foundation of the house are left vulnerable and exposed.
The outside of the home looks fine. But inside the home everything is turned upside down. This is the case with people who suffer from dyslexia. Babini used jumbled letters and phrases inside the home to demonstrate the dyslexic’s confusion with the written word.
Babini is a brilliant artist. Archiatric was just one of over a dozen projects he has taken on. In another of his projects, titled Inkonic Faces, Babini used simple lines and geometric shapes to recreate the faces of some of the most iconic people in history. The above photo is of Freddy Mercury.
Another one Babini’s styles is to combine architecture with several different forms of art. In another series, Archiwriter, Babini combined the mood and words of several writers with an architectural design. He also did the same for film, art, sculpture and music.