“Our photography is the last instance of communication during the project life of a building. It’s where the architect shouts out their message to the world: ‘This is what I propose. This is what I think. And it looks like this. And it feels like this.’ So it is very much part of our work to understand what the intentions are.”
Architect and Architectural Photographer, Marcela Spadaro creates inspiring visual narratives of innovative architecture around the world through her London-based studio, Naaro. With Co-Founder Freya Najade, Marcela captures the stories of groundbreaking design in photographs and film. “At the heart of our work is communication. We aim to communicate through our work the experience of being at a place and make it as immersive as possible through the kinds of media we use – for example, we’re increasingly intertwining video with photography – but also what kinds of frames we produce, in what order and how we edit our work.”
“At the heart of our work is communication".
Naaro was borne of a sabbatical from Marcela’s former role as Lead Architect for London’s renowned Zaha Hadid Architects, a role she held for 10 years. “After many years at ZHA, I took a sabbatical and, during that time, Freya proposed to me the idea of Naaro. The idea of being involved with innovative architecture in this way appealed to me very much. It spoke to the work I was already doing but also presented the possibility to work with many architects at the same time and to see many projects around the world.”
One such project for which Naaro has received a lot of acclaim is their collaboration with Marc Fornes on THEVERYMANY. “We’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with Marc on a number of occasions and they are projects that we are very proud of,” Marcela says. “We are very connected with the type of undefined spaces that he proposes. We understand them very well and we are always overwhelmed by the positive reception that Marc’s work has among the visitors of the projects wherever we have documented them.”
Marcela is passionate about form and has explored the formal aspects of objects through art and architecture since her early life in Argentina. “I come from a family that was very much interested in showing us a lot of possibilities of what we could do before having to choose our professional paths as adults. Since I was very little, in addition to school, I studied music and art and continued to do so throughout my education. I finished studying architecture at the same time as I had my first solo show of paintings, just before I moved to London... I don’t really consider myself an architect; more of a creator working within the field of architecture. I always mixed art into my architectural work; so I have always felt I am in this undefined space that I know very well but find it difficult to grasp or explain.”
It was in London and through her work at Zaha Hadid Architects that Marcela really began to find her creative tribe. “I opted for working with ZHA largely because I felt very close to Zaha’s aesthetics which were very different from anything I experienced growing up in Latin America. Argentina has always been a mixed place for me. It’s where I discovered my desire for art, music and architecture but it is also a place that I left because somehow I did not feel a part of it creatively. When I left, it was partly because I felt the creative world there had the tendency of looking inwards to the local, as opposed to a more international and diverse approach. This didn’t resonate with me and it always made me feel that somehow my work belonged elsewhere. I only fully understood this once I moved to London.”
In addition to her work with Naaro, Marcela teaches Architectural Photography at London College of Communications, an academic practice which she says is very closely connected to her professional practice. “Freya and I basically organise our course around the idea of opening our studio to young photographers who are interested in becoming architectural photography professionals. We share everything we do in our professional practice: how we conceive a photo shoot, what equipment we use, how we work with our clients, best practice in fees and contracting and how we work in post-production.”
Marcela also sees new opportunities for Naaro’s work in light of COVID-19 and the global shift toward virtual connection. “With the pandemic, we have seen a lot of physical design moving into the virtual world and, as communicators of design, I am interested in seeing how Naaro can work within this world. One of the things I imagine is experimenting with virtual reality to see whether we could generate input for VR at Naaro.”
For now, Marcela says she is very much enjoying the present and exploring greater integrations between photography and video. She hopes to continue connecting with the global community around her work and promoting the exchange of ideas around Naaro’s work.
To learn more about Marcela’s work, visit https://www.naaro.com/ and connect with Naaro on Instagram.