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Seher Shah in collaboration with Randhir Singh

Studies in Form, Barbican Estate (detail), 2018
Cyanotype prints on Arches Aquarelle paper

Composed of 29 prints, Dimensions variable

Studies in Form is a 2018 collaboration between the artist Seher Shah and the photographer Randhir Singh, both of whom are based in New Delhi. It uses cyanotypes to explore the abstract qualities of four architectural developments around the world, among them the Barbican Estate in London, where I live. These photographs focus on the repetitive, sculptural qualities of the estate: the lipped balconies, the concrete vents that look like funnels on a ship. In these beautiful, enigmatic images, my home appears massive, elegant, austere, a little unfriendly.

What Shah and Singh have captured in their cyanotypes are the clean lines and sculptural heft of the place, the belief that utility and beauty don’t always have to cancel each other out. There are lots of different ways to live, and so there are lots of different types of available accommodation. The Barbican’s architects, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, believed it was their responsibility to make each space work, no matter how small. The shipshape kitchens in the F2A studios, the kind I have, were designed by the yacht makers Brooke Marine.

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