Audi A7 parked in front of St John's Smith Square

Design Icon


Ope Odueyungbo previews Open House London

How does the design of a man-made object affect the way you experience it? Why do its angles, its curves and the materials it’s created from affect your enjoyment? And, in photography, how do factors such as the light and the angle you shoot that object from also play a part in the aesthetics of the piece?

These are all questions that Londoner and architecture photographer Ope Odueyungbo toys with every day. On Instagram, he has amassed almost 100,000 followers – a small army of social media fans – who consider him an expert in finding the answers to the above questions.

That made him a perfect candidate to give us a preview of Open House London; an event which sees more than 750 locations around the city welcome the public through their doors, free of charge.

And it was only fitting that he did so from one of the Audi models most often commented on for its looks – the sleek, elegant Audi A7.

Audi A7 front view

His first choice of destination was Ravensbourne. Originally opened as Bromley School of Art in 1878, it counts David Bowie, Stella McCartney and Ope, himself, amongst its former pupils.

"When the building first opened I was part of the first batch of students to study there", he says. "I spent three years at Ravensbourne and always admired the building. "It’s quite unique because of the circular windows and the patterns around it. It's just crazy-looking; like a block of cheese with holes in it."

Ope described the unusual pattern created by the shards of different colours and shapes on the bodywork.

"It’s like a puzzle… but not your average puzzle", he laughs. "When I saw it, I thought the car looked like it actually had that pattern and I had to capture it. It looked like the person that built that building had made the car as well."

Audi A7 front light

Audi logo on A7 rear

Next on our tour was St John Smith's Square in South West London.

The baroque church was completed in 1728 but is now a concert hall. Shooting here presented a fresh set of challenges.

"When we got there it just kept raining. Initially, I was worried, but then I found a way to make the rain work in my favour. I started shooting close ups of the car and focusing on the raindrops. That gave a really nice effect."

The next (considerably more sunny) day, the final stop was Clerkenwell to take in the City University’s college building.

Audi A7 rear window close-up

Audi A7 front view close up

""As the sun was shining the reflection on the car was something I wanted to capture", says Ope. "It's not something I’d usually shoot but it worked well with the car because we were able to go round the whole building and I could pick which side was best to shoot the car."

So what has our trip taught us about the art of photographing a design icon? For Ope, the answer lies fundamentally in finding a new angle.

"Architecture was the area of photography that I particularly enjoyed because you can get various angles from different buildings and perspectives. The way you shoot it can show the building as something totally different. "If you take that approach, you never know what you’re going to get; it's always a surprise. Sometimes, you can shoot an image and it comes out unexpectedly well. At those times, you think, 'I can’t believe that one shot!'"

And, as Ope explains, Open House London adds that additional dimension.

"A lot of these buildings are not usually open to the public, yet they're so amazing in terms of what's inside them and the viewpoints you can get from some of them. It's incredible to explore London through both architectural lenses."

The festival of architecture and design is on 17-18 September. Explore the event at Open House London".

Written by Liz Kelly; photographs by Ope Odueyungbo.

 

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