2022 saw a surging paradigm shift in the realm of art and design with the emergence of artificial intelligence design tools. Programs such as DALL·E and Midjourney entered the scene earlier this year and have since rapidly transformed the way artists, designers and architects think and create.
The tools have opened up boundless new potentials of our imagination, fostering new relationships between artists and their designs and audiences. This year, designboom saw artists trade in their paintbrushes for Midjourney to digitally envision a new generation of birds cross-bred with flora, meanwhile real-world architects envisioned utopian biophilic cities from the future, semi-alive habitable monsters, and ancient Egyptian pyramids fused with abstract expressionist aesthetics.
With designboom’s readers portal, we have seen some of the most innovative and eye-catching projects directly from the creators dominating this new wave of design. As we get ready to move into the new year, we kick off our TOP 10 roundups of 2022 series by spotlighting some of the best submissions in AI-generated design.
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Manas Bhatia
Harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, Manas Bhatia imagines a surreal future with his new project, Symbiotic Architecture. Inspired by the Hyperion tree, in this concept the Indian designer envisions a world occupied by symbiotic apartment towers that breathe and grow, appearing as giant hollow redwood trees. The architect questions: ‘Can the envelope in which we live breathe as creatures do instead of us dwelling in air-conditioned concrete and glass boxes we call apartments?’
Exploring the relationship between living creatures, nature and architecture, Manas Bhatia presents his conceptual research imaginations as a series of AI-generated images that depict surreal ‘living’ apartments that are entirely integrated into nature. 
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Manas Bhatia
Manas Bhatia’s AI x Future Cities series of AI-generated images explores the possibilities of sustainable infrastructure following the rapid global increase in urbanization. With the help of artificial intelligence, the architect and designer imagines a sustainable utopian city of the future with towering skyscrapers enveloped with algae facades.
Visualized as futuristic biophilic air-purification towers, the green structures offer many benefits for modern society and infrastructure by reducing carbon emissions and minimizing the use of artificial cooling. Manas Bhatia utilizes Midjourney to realize his vision, inputting text-based prompts into the AI program to generate this green, utopian architectural vision of the future. 

image by Mathias Juul Frost

Mathias Juul Frost presents a series of charming AI-generated dwellings which question the mundane nature of modern residential architecture. Titled ‘A house you say good morning to and hug when you come home’, the project is a comment on the somewhat coldness of modern-day homes. Rejecting the rigidity of these typically brick, rectangular masses with repetitive square windows, Frost’s designs envision dynamic abstracted homes composed of sculptural organic forms.
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Kaveh Najafian
Utilizing artificial intelligence program Midjouney, architectural designer Kaveh Najafian visualizes a series of hypnotizing renders of the Versailles palace decorated with feathers and maximalist gold facades. The series, titled ‘Flying Versailles’, is part of an iterative process or experimentation done by only textual prompts that are constantly tweaked and carefully altered to become more accurate. 
Kaveh Najafian uses the Versailles palace as the main facade to experiment with, as it is an epitome of decorative architecture in Europe and the peak of the French Baroque. As Midjouney has a heavy database of references for Versailles, it counts as a ‘natural habitat’ for the AI software. Additionally, the sheer number of online material gives a solid base to the software to work with. The details of the facades and the interiors are in harmony with the artistic language of the up-scaled features of Midjouney V3, the text-to-art AI generator, which helps to produce accurate results. 
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Mohammad Qasim Iqbal
Mohammad Qasim Iqbal continues his experimentation with Midjourney to present a series of AI-generated structures exploring renaissance and baroque facades, intertwined with delicate fabric-like elements. The grand, intricately ornamented structures retain the rigidity of the historic stone architecture alongside their characteristic baroque and renaissance forms. Taking these elements into new territories, the rendered facades are engraved from tensile silk in a fluid, dream-like, contemporary expression that invites viewers to closely observe the contrasting yet complementary materials as they unexpectedly unfold and fuse together.
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Mohamad Rasoul Moosapour
Mohamad Rasoul Moosapour harnesses the potential of AI tool Midjourney to imagine an alternative future occupied by ‘semi-alive’ architectural structures engulfed by living organisms with his new series, Archi-creatures. The Iranian architect delves beyond the realm of physical architectural design to present a series of AI-generated images of photos, drawings and models of buildings and infrastructure with his new imaginative-research collection. Envisioning a new future in which buildings are shaped by a deep biological understanding of the world, rather than a physical one, the static structures are brought to life and transformed from silent, unbreathing objects to ‘semi-alive’ ones. 
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Hassan Ragab
With his new AI-generated series Post Pharaonic Architecture, interdisciplinary designer Hassan Ragab explores abstract expressionism interpretations of monumental ancient Egyptian architecture. The designer looks to the primordial stone-carved forms of Pharaonic architecture and renders the historic structures through a juxtaposing, abstracted lens of the expressionist movement of the 20th-century.
Utilizing text-to-image artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, Hassan Ragab recomposes the fundamental modules of the primitive architecture into dynamic and abstract compositions. The resulting imposing stone structures reveal ornamented facades engraved with fading hieroglyphs, intricate openings and sweeping, fragmented layers.

image by Soheil Hosseini

Iranian artist and designer Soheil Hosseini presents his mesmerizing and incredibly detailed depiction of bird-like creatures, each one digitally rendered with the help of artificial intelligence. Dubbed ‘Acidosis,’ the series specifically explores a new generation of animals, evoking a mix of roosters and owls, that could potentially flourish in the future. Besides reimagining animalistic anatomies, Hosseini also endowed most of his creatures with striking floral details, namely petals and moss-like growth, inviting an unusual symbiosis of species.
Apart from the rich and colorful coating, what is sure to captivate the viewer are the birds’ captivating eyes, oozing a human-like stare with their scintillating reflection. 
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by George Steinmetz
Iranian architect Ehsan Kazerooni leverages the wonders of digital montages to imagine a new type of being he calls the ‘Archeature’ (Architecture + Creature). His latest artwork shows harvesters, photographed by George Steinmetz, whose faces are replaced by spellbinding patterns and geometries of historical architecture found across different civilizations and cultures. ‘These are creatures made from our past architecture,’ he says. 
TOP 10 readers submissions of 2022 — a new wave of surreal AI-generated design
image by Rameez Iqbal
Multimedia designer and digital artist Rameez Iqbal leverages the wonders of the text-to-image software Midjourney to create an extraterrestrial fashion campaign dubbed ‘Aliens Among Us’. The AI-generated concept series features the handbag collection of an iconic fashion brand sported by otherworldly and incredibly stylish alien models. ‘They’re among us, hiding in plain sight. But you can spot them by their style, by their grace, and by their luxurious handbags,’ writes Iqbal playfully.
So while some of us may envision aliens as green-faced, wrinkly creatures, this collection recreates our intergalactic neighbors as fashionable hybrids, each boasting skin textures that echo the brand’s luxurious gold, metallic, and leather finishes.
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