These images are spatio-structural urban fantasies taken from Urbicande. Les cités obscures, the source material, is a 12-volume graphic novel by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters, in which “references to our world abound, especially in regard to architecture.” It is a “parallel universe,” we read, full of utopian construction projects and urban expeditions, strange villages and—
—moving machine-labyrinths made from decontextualized walls. Its “coherence is constantly growing with time.”
All images, including those below, are copyrighted by and fully credited to this creative team.
(Thematically related: gravestmor introduces us to The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, and Pruned gives us some Brodsky & Utkin. In the process, don’t forget BLDGBLOG’s own look at cinematic urbanism, or Archidose’s reconsideration of the strangely inspiring film, La Jétee).
10 thoughts on “Voyage to Utopia and the City Obscure”
I hope someone is gonig to transle those into enlgish.
English Guide to the Obscure Cities with links to a few downloadable translations.
…and NBM Publications (NYC) may have a few Schuiten/Peeters books in English.
cenoxo, great links – thanks.
Now we just need the cinematic version…
You’re welcome — I’d like to get some of those volumes myself.
I was unaware of Obscure Cities until your post: the artwork looks much like the classic renderings of Hugh Ferriss (more here, here and here.)
Why, the Obscure Cities have been long published in English! Look on the EBBS for more details and links.
And, surely, Mr.Schuiten does refer to Piranesi, Ferris, Fuller, Brunel, etc., etc.
It’s one of the main intentions of the series, it has (just to give an example) helpen re-establish Karl Blossfeldt as a person of its own right in architectural history by doing this…
Mitya, thanks for the Obskür magazine link. Many more images there, including this Schuiten self-portrait.
Karl Blossfeldt‘s work looks pretty interesting, also.
Mitya and cenoxo both, these are great. I could upload a million images from those books and still not be satisfied. Very, very nice work.
And the Blossfeldt work looks like something that should be on Pruned – or probably already was there, but I forgot.
Brusel is particularly relevant for Sydney (Australia). Its centre, nowadays referred to as "the financial district", was once comprised of exquisite Parisien style mansard residences, all obliterated long ago. In their place now stand a forest of massive skyscrapers.
More about François Schuiten, Benoît Peeters and their Obscure Cities can be found in English at Altaplana, the archive site of Les Cites Obscure