INTerview: Floor Plan Croissant (Boryana Ilieva)

Architectural Representation has always been a topic of much discussion. One of the many great aspects of Architecture is how Architects and Designers all find unique ways to interpret 2D Drawings. Even Interiors has found new ways to represent Floor Plans and Elevations over the years. When we came across Floor Plan Croissant’s Instagram Page, we were inspired by the way she was able to blend technical Architectural Drawings of popular Television Shows and Films with a realistic, warm watercolor overlay. Her work proves how lively certain forms of representation can be.

Interiors spoke with Floor Plan Croissant (Boryana Ilieva) about her work and inspirations.

INT: Can you share some information about your background in Architecture? How did you first come up with Floor Plan Croissant? Also, what does the name mean?

FPC: Back in 2008, I co-founded an architectural studio in Sofia, Bulgaria, under the name of 11AM. Together with Panayot Savov ─ also an architect, we develop small design projects, mostly condo interiors and single family houses. I have to acknowledge Savov’s tremendous help in the film interiors venture. As a tutor in public buildings at The University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG) in Sofia, he adds a solid theoretical backup to every film house explored.

The birth of Floor Plan Croissant was only a question of time as movies were always an inseparable part of my life. Intersecting them with architecture as an autonomous project happened in the winter of 2015. One evening, after seeing Elena by Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev, I had that gorgeous Moscow condo from the film dancing in my mind the whole night. In the morning, I roughly sketched its floor plan. It was the official beginning of my upgraded relationship with cinema. From that time on, through the language of architecture, I have been able to translate many of the messages sent by directors and cinematographers in their work.

As for the name, it's kind of a morphological thing. Before baking croissants, they seem like wrappings but heat makes them get their own visual mass. They are transforming into something special. And they are tasty.

INT: Do you have a process of how you choose the Films/Spaces that you draw? Are they Films that you’re a fan of or is it more about the Space?

FPC: Film always comes first; Space comes later. Rooms don’t hit you immediately and directly. Living spaces that exist and play their quiet role to support a powerful story in the film ─ or even to build its structure discreetly ─ are my absolute favorite spaces. I love bringing life to those kinds of spaces. I enjoy showing people the architectural gems that some may fail to notice.

INT: What have been some of your favorite pieces to work on? Are there any drawings that you are particularly proud of?

FPC: In 2015, I explored the houses in five films which treat a specific subject: "the phenomena of the un-self-doppelganger persona". The films were Twin Peaks by David Lynch (Laura’s House), Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas, The One I Love by Charlie McDowell, Frank by Lenny Abrahamson and The Lady in the Van by Nicholas Hytner.

This project still remains the one I’m most proud of because of all the architectural clues I discovered in the houses that I painted. Each home spoke to me in the language of architecture about cloning processes, shadow selves and twins. I adored how Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) and her assistant Valentine (Kristen Stewart) doubled their personalities in the Sils-Maria Alpine house, spending days and nights at that dining table between two perpendicular corner mirror-windows. In esoteric terms, meeting those reflective surfaces in that way means so much to me. Another example is in Laura Palmer’s home: the asymmetrical and central staircase is a kind of portal that drags the weirdest creatures from Black Lodge to the second floor.

In the first teaser of the highly anticipated Twin Peaks show sequel, Deputy Hawk says, "location sometimes becomes a character." I feel that the houses in those five films I studied provoked the phenomena of the other self. This is why these five locations are characters. Another piece that I am proud of is the painting which illustrates the floor plan of Will Byers's house in Stranger Things. The watercolor/acrylic technique was a personal success and creating the glowing effect taught me about how important a conductor the lights were between the two worlds. 

INT: The drawings that you create seem to come alive once they are painted. Have you discovered anything unique about Architectural Drawings and Representation?

FPC: Thank you, that means a lot. Watercolor technique was the handiest (and the hardest, because it excludes repairing). One day, I will probably switch to something else like modeling with clay, constructing with Lego blocks, or whatever will give a good architectural expression. The most important thing for me is to work with my hands. By doing so, I initiate certain analytic processes. As far as the final result is concerned, it becomes something more than a colorful sign or scheme of space. It becomes an autonomous object, a copy with no original ─ specific form of simulacrum in Baudrillard’s terms.

INT: Where do you see this series going? Do you have any goals in terms of Films you’d like to do and projects you’d like to try?

FPC: At this particular moment, I’m working on a lecture for students in Production Design at The National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA) in Sofia where I was invited as a guest lecturer to talk about Floor Plan Croissant’s discoveries so far.

Apart from that, I look ahead towards the movies that are releasing in 2017 and the potential "home-characters" to be studied. I’m particularly impatient to see Haneke’s new work and I’m curious about Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built and Sofia Coppola's new feature, The Beguiled. In addition to that, I'm very interested in "house-actors", which are houses with multiple roles in different movies. For instance, Dorothea’s home in 20th Century Women has been shot in 12 other films already.

Check out the Brand New Diagram from Floor Plan Croissant on James Keziah Delaney's Attic from the Television Show, Taboo.