While traveling to Italy I stopped in Nürnberg and visited the Neues Museum. One piece, “Later…,” by Dutch artist Edwin Zwakman, depicts towering apartment blocks dominating a flat space with a series of man-made reflecting pools disappearing into a background of mist. The endless repetition of balconies, windows, and vertical supports begs scrutiny and the film-like scene emits a tension as if a sinister event will soon occur in this sterile space.

The next day in Como, Italy, I spotted two buildings, a hotel and an apartment complex that I immediately wanted to sketch. In both structures, balconies zig-zag horizontally across a pattern of vertical supports. Each building looks markedly different from the surrounding architecture, as if they are the last ones standing from a time of Italy’s glittering post-war economic success.