Designing Legends


Vasily Klyukin’s beautifully produced book is a compilation of imaginary architecture. The artist has carefully placed, digitally, his fantasy architecture into the context of cities around the world. The book is divided into building types (towers, hotels and apartments, “leisure time,” business buildings, and street art. That last section may be the key to the whole book: Klyukin there transforms existing buildings (rather than inserting his own) with elaborate, “full-body” graffiti (covering entire building faces) that is site specific and very colorful.

Sculpture Designing Legends

Designing Legends by Vasily Klyukin. Publisher: Skira, 2013. 288 pages, $75.00 hardcover . ISBN: 978-8857220383

In a way, the other projects are a kind of “full-building” graffiti, “tagging” the city as a whole with the addition of the artist’s own imagery. There is the “Comet Fortuna” building, which seems to have dropped from outer space to plunge partly into the harbor edge of a city. There is the “Tulip Palace,” one of the most colorful (and in a way most buildable) of the projects, a Christmas-tree-bulb-llooking glass tulip along the water’s edge.

Not all are representational, in terms of imagery. The “In Love Towers” simply lean geometrically together. The “Jungle Park Hotel” is all green patios, surrounding an elevator core. Some of the projects are hardly more outrageous than some of the real buildings that surround them in the photos. Some are funny: “L’Île à hélice” is a huge cruise ship run aground on the beach. “Red Carpet” is just that, running all the way up a ziggurat of a building.

Klyukin is indulging in a playful critique of contemporary architecture and the post-Modern city, but it’s really an “artist’s book,” or in the parlance of the previous century, “un livre d’artiste.” When I typed the first sentence of this paragraph, I accidentally spelled the 10th word as “artcchitecture,” a slip of the finger but nonetheless an accurate description of Klyukin’s elegant project.

By Glenn Harper

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