Ordos | Kambashi in abandoned cities
This december, dutch architect Willemien van Duijn published a wonderful book about abandoned cities around the world. I was more than happy to participate to it with one of my shot the new giant housing complex being build in Ordos / Kambashi. If you are in Holland, please check this book, the other photos are quite incredible as well. You can have some preview on the NRC ( Dutch newspaper ) photo section here:
and more snapshot of the book taken with my phone here:
In the arid landscape of Chinese’ inner mongolia, local authorities have decided to use the extra revenue from its rich coal lands to build a new modern city. Together with very modern architecture, developer are currently constructing some of the biggest housing complexes & mega-blocks in the world. Kangbashi is the new city of ordos. Built to house millions, its current population is just about 100 000. But as most of international media were pointing towards a ghost city, in the past couple of years, streets of ordos are not as deserted as before. Succession of expensive cars are strolling through the streets and some of the newly finished appartement complex are occupied. Despite the signs, the city is starting to grow a life. But it is its surreal surdimension that I have documented in those photos. The A-town complex is the new district of Ordos / Kangbashi composed of a giant housing complex with currently more than 120 apartment buildings under construction. Around the site, empty large roads are drawn and constructed through a desert like landscape. In the center of the city, the top cultural buildings as the museum of Ordos and the museum of Modern Art are designed by some edgy chinese architects such as Ma Yansong ( MAD ) and Xu Tiantian (DnA). This construction of a city too big for its in inhabitants is another push forwards towards a real-estate bubble currently happening in China. This small project was shot with the nx200 in partnership with samsung, the photos can be found and voted for on this page : www.facebook.com/samsungnx
Wang Shu – prominent chinese architect was just announced laureate of the 2012 Pritzker Architecture Price and enter the history as the first Chinese National Winner of the famous prize. I had the chance to meet him through the process of my current book with the Enrico Navarra Gallery. His process and personal stories are incredible and I am so glad he has received the highest recognition for it. Here is below some portraits of him and images from his most beautiful work, the ningbo museum of history.
In San Francisco, a new gallery is soon opening its door to young photographers. I am glad to have my series “Urban Shift” soon displayed there and featured on their website. Prints are sold on limited edition and various sizes through the website directly so check it out and take a look at all the artists featured in there:
This saturday, I am exhibiting 4 of urban landscape work in shanghai and will sell them for charity ! Please come and enjoy good drinks and collection from different good local and foreign photographers . All the details below:
When I first stepped in Chongqing two years ago, I had the same feeling as when I first arrived in Manhattan from new wark airport in 1995… A feeling of entering in a mysterious and magical place… I felt in love with the city immediately. A couple of month after, my first contribution for Le Monde was an opening photo of the city. Since then, I have been back three times and I continue to be fascinated by it. To my eyes, it is a representation of the recent chinese history in one place at one moment. From the mafia era to the red era, the city is full of mysteries and stories that are waiting to be told… From the central clock tower, surrounded by giant shopping malls and luxury shops, you can slowly walk down from this upper part of town to the river at the lowest level. This downgrade will also take you through all the different level of the society. Near the clock, new and modern compounds are home to the rich… As you walk down, the living standarts are going down as well… and in the lowest part, near the river, electricity and windows become a luxury…. In some part, some strange old temples are trying to resist the rapid development of the city -in other giant holes suddenly appears in between high rises building and are waiting to be purchased by some developer…
As I will pursue my work in this city, this issue is bringing you an introduction to the city. In the full screen gallery, I have inserted some of the large format urban photos of the city, mostly taken from or towards the river banks who define the cities. I recommend you to purchase this edition of AA ( L architecture d’Aujourd’hui july / august edition ) and read as well the excellent article written by french architects from Archiplein agency in shanghai. Its a full 10 page spread !!!
please check the FULL PAGE PORTFOLIO on CHONGQING by clicking here !
Preview the full article or purchase the electronic version by clicking here
Recently opened, the Langham XinTianDi hotels is definitly giving a new vibe to the numerous high range hotels in Shanghai. With its retro-style and ideal location just on the border of the ultra-chic xintiandi district, the hotel is already fully booked most of the time. Since its construction, I was quite fascinated by this melange of genre and was really looking forward to work with KPF on this project and its now done ! Below a couple of photos of the final selection, more can be seen on the project page of the KPF website by clicking here .
Since this week end, I have the chance of touring china with one of the most respected architecture critics in France, Frederic Edelmann. We are currently visiting the landscapes of new architecture in China for a project. On our first night, we were invited at the opening of Zaha Hadid opera in guangzhou china. Numerous architect and journalists were invited for this unique event, from drinks to an opera representation, we ended up having dinner in the annexe building with the guests and zaha hadid. The architecture itself is very original and fresh in accordance to her style, but for the first time, she revealed the original idea of the building, which came from a photograph of two stones in a small river ( a black stone , left on the photo and and a white stone ).
After running through the building and exploring it inside out, i really felt that the Iraqi borned architect was doing architecture for photographers . Every single angles attract the attention of the eyes and is begging to be photographed. I spent almost two complete days to satisfy my pleasure of going through every views of the building. At the end of the second day, I had a few moments shared with Zaha H. for a photograph for “le Monde”. She left me the impression of a Diva in her kingdom. Walking slowly in the building, every single of her gesture seemed full of intention. After seating long hours for CNN and another local TV, she still took her time to pause for a last photograph, smiling and standing proudly in the middle of her artwork.
the full article is available in thursday the 3rd of march publication of ” Le Monde ”
I also have a full series of photos that will stay confidential until the end of the projects I am currently working on
My recent collaboration with respected architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox ( KPF ), helped me to build a stronger commercial architecture portfolio. Of course the process of shooting promotional photos for buildings and spaces is very different from the one of documenting a story but it is also an interesting way of discovering new sides of photography especially with the help of post processing. During my recent work, Abram Hodgens, has worked together with me to bring a certain result that is expected by those companies.
ARCHITECTURE PORTFOLIO – click here
photos are also available directly through arcaid images here.