Milan-born, Sydney-based architect Luigi Rosselli will be exhibiting 30 years of his architectural drawings on butter paper at the Mils Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney.

Titled ‘A Perspective: 30 year of Sketches by Luigi Rosselli Architect’, the exhibition features more than 1,000 of Rosselli’s translucent yellow illustrations as a veil of ‘windswept leaves’ layered through a sculpted and internally lit portal that visitors may walk through.

This portal or ‘paper arch’, a far cry from the typical, plain white gallery walls, aim to engage visitors with scores of fragile ‘first impressions’.

According to Rosselli, whose practice has created more than 120 building designs, property owners often prefer to consider “dreamy hand-drawn sketches” during the early design stage.

“Most clients don’t want to suddenly ‘fly through’ a digital rendition of a fait accompli,” he says.

Luigi Rosselli’s 2008 butter paper concept drawing for the Cliffhanger House, Stanwell  Park, NSW

Rosselli, who worked with leading Swiss architect Mario Botta as a student, first arrived in Australia from New York in the early 1980s as ‘Chief Inker’ at Romaldo Giurgola &  Thorp’s team designing Australia’s Parliament House in Canberra .

When he founded his Sydney pratice in 1985, he developed a ritual of showing his freehand design concept sketches using black felt pens and white Tipp Ex (correcting fluid) on translucent yellow tracing paper, torn from small rolls.

Cantilevered living areas and curved timber walls update the organic architecture traditions of Alvar Aalto and Frank Lloyd Wright: Luigi Rossellis’ 2013 concept sketch for the High Country House in Armidale, NSW.

“Architectural concept sketches remain the most effective way to convey one’s first creative ideas – especially to clients who are themselves sophisticated and imaginative,” he explains.

“Drawings help to begin a process where you can share development of the vision. As a professional practitioner, they help you build, brick by brick, the confidence and engagement of your client.”

The exhibition will be held from 23 April to 6 May 2015, Wed-Fri 1-6pm, and Sat 12-5pm. A catalogue is also being published. 

Watch this visual documentary on the creative process of Rosselli and his approach to drawing as a primary medium for design: