Founded in Netherlands in 1917 and active until about 1927, the De Stijl movement preached simplicity and abstraction, encompassing paintings, sculpture, architecture, and typography. Its artists and designers reduced forms to their most basic shapes and preferred to use primary colors to express harmony and order.
Sound familiar? In some ways, De Stijl’s philosophy is eerily similar to Google’s Material Design standards. It’s wild to think that designers over 100 years ago were actually laying the foundation for good UI practices today–a fact that reinforces just how influential De Stijl is.
When the U.K. architecture firm Shedkm turned 20, it relaunched its website with a clean, new look to commemorate the milestone. The graphic design studio Uniform, which created the site, also kicked in something extra as a celebration of the firm’s accomplishments: a series of GIFs that riff on De Stijl, whose principles influence Shedkm’s work today.
To make the animations, Uniform looked to some of the architectural projects Shedkm’s most proud about, and reinterpreted them as if they were De Stijl paintings. Chimney Pot Park, a multi-family housing development, features distinctive skylights–so Uniform honed in on those elements for a GIF poster. There’s a lot of shadow play in the firm’s RIBA-award winning House for an Art Lover, and the GIF that commemorates that project has subtly changing colors that make it look like the sun’s setting on its facade. Meanwhile, the office building One Ruskin Square is defined by a grid, so the GIF poster has a grid that moves from 2D to 3D.
See them all in the slideshow above.