Cut out cityscapes

Zupagrafika, a design company based in Poland, have reinvented paper cut-out models with a twist. Not for them the farmyard scenes or castles of my childhood. They are recreating the brutalist architecture of the post-WW2 world, with a concentration on the former Soviet Bloc countries.

One wonderful example is called “Brutal East” and contains 7 models representing brutalist Eastern Bloc architecture. This cut-out and stick pack contains such delights as a Czech panelák estate from Prague (which is pretty similar to other functionalist concrete estates to be found stretching from France across Europe right through to Mother Russia itself), Eastern Gate of Belgrade. Belgrade (Serbia), “Romanița” Collective Housing Tower. Chisinau (Moldova), House of Soviets. Kaliningrad (Russia), Novosmolenskaya Housing Complex. St. Petersburg (Russia), Sporto Rūmai. Vilnius (Lithuania) and “Manhattan” Housing Complex. Wrocław (Poland).

Over the years I have encountered a great deal of such architecture, most recently in the wonderful Belarus capital of Minsk. 


This is a shining example in Prague – The Kotva Department Store built in the early 1970s.


And this gem was in Usti nad Labem back in the 1990s.


England also has its fair collection of brutalist buildings as can be seen from this mini exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. 



I hope that Zupagrafika also turn their attention to some of the other former Soviet Bloc states such as Skopje which had a most amazing array of horrendous concrete buildings when I worked there in 1999. The central post office in Skopje reminded me of a dressed roast as seen in 1960s cookery books. This is “proper” ugly.

skopje post office architecture

Here is a better image from Wikimedia:


Now Skopje is undergoing a transformation, the graphic designers need to get in quick.






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