When Elena Manferdini spies an intricate ball gown or a flowing lace skirt, her mind wanders to skyscrapers, towers and federal buildings. The Italian architect -- and founder of L.A. design studio Atelier Manferdini -- uses the drape and texture of fabric as inspiration for the elaborate buildings she masterminds.
"I like to show that there's a correlation between the human body scale and the architectural scale," said Manferdini, 34, who's the subject of a solo exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles through Nov. 29. "It's all part of this comprehensive research on the role of clothing -- how textile can inform the skin and a larger building."
The show, "Works in Progress," highlights her work in product design, art installation, architecture and fashion. Whatever the project -- silver, laser-cut sneakers for Nike or a hangar-sized installation of laser-cut plastic chips for the SCI-Arc gallery in downtown L.A. -- Manferdini's aesthetic is one-track.
She creates texture in buildings and clothing by cutting through veneers, often in repetitive patterns. The effect is alternately that of intricately wrought lace and those paper snowflakes you made as a kid.