The spectacular, desolate leftovers of real estate speculation

In his tour around the world, French photographer Loïc Vendrame captured the global landscape of ghost architecture, a legacy of the economic crisis and beyond.

“I am not a photographer, photography is just my biggest passion,” is what Loïc Vendrame first told us when we called him to learn more about his visual project Future rust Future dust. Born in France in 1989, he is first of all a geographer who has also studied urbanism, and happens to be deeply interested in architecture and in the transformations of peri-urban landscapes. When he is not photographing around the world, he runs a medical NGO in South Sudan.

His photos have been widely published, and he recently shared with Domus an ongoing project that analyses the impact of economic crises in real estate developments mainly across the Mediterranean, but spans to other countries too. In this portfolio, Vendrame highlights the state of the art of past speculation in Morocco, Spain, Portugal, UAE, Turkey and Taiwan. “I mainly focus on touristic countries. I first take a tour through the satellite view, and search for unfinished buildings. You can usually find them on the shores or in the outskirts of big touristic areas,” he explains. “Then I select a destination, go there, rent a car and shoot”.

His main objective is that of revealing the gigantic waste of money and agricultural land in places where the lack of low-cost housing is a pungent issue. “Many of the relics I depict are almost finished, they’re almost ready to be inhabited but finally remain abandoned. And only in few cases, like in Portugal, for example, there has been informal occupation,” he continues. When asked how he relates with other collectives which are active on the same subject, like Incompiuto Siciliano, for instance, he remarks how the more is revealed, the more it will strengthen the future political action, thanks to the different eyes of each photographer. His documentation project will be part of a book where theory and images intersect, and it might serve researchers who study crisis speculation. His next destinations? Cyprus, Egypt, China, and Venezuela.

Born in 1989, geographer and self-taught photographer, Loïc Vendrame was firstly attracted by contemporary architecture. Since 2016, his photographic work has shifted towards the study of the dynamics and changes of urban and peri-urban landscapes, especially through a monographic photo study documenting abandoned, stopped or under-utilized modern spaces around the world. He shoots with a Fujifilm XT-2 and a Fuji XF 14mm F/2.8.

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