The new life of Burj al Babas

A new short movie imagines a second life for the castles of the Turkish ghost village, designed to be a real-world fairytale and never completed. 

In the Turkish region along the Silk Road lies an immense tourist village, not far from the historic village Mudurno, also UNESCO site. It is a complex of 732 identical buildings, designed to be villas, mosques, shopping malls and spa complexes. The construction company, Sorut Group, after having first been denounced for damaging the territory and then hit by bankruptcy, left the project unfinished, when it was scheduled to be opened to the market at the end of 2019.

Director and concept designer Alexandre Humbert worked on a short movie about this forgotten construction site for the exhibition “Geo-Design: Junk” curated by Martina Muzi and Joseph Grima during Dutch Design Week 2019. To interpret the theme of the exhibition (junk) Alexandre asked himself: is waste capable of creating entertainment?

Alexandre spent a week documenting the ghost village, meeting the last 5 workers of the 8,000 people initially hired. The key to understanding this unique place used by the artist is immediate: the relationship and mutual influence between architecture and narrative imagery.

"As designers we are storytellers, we are not designing chairs but ways of sitting” says Alexandre Humbert.

So Burj al Babas turns into Sleeping Beauties, a resort that could really participate in the economic gains of the UNESCO region, where in Alexander's imagination visitors pay 10 € to visit it and photograph the 732 mini-castels “inventing their own fables to fill the empty rooms”.

As he himself states, “Burj Al Babas wasn’t an aberration at all but instead a logical consequence of the way real estate has been inspired by fairytale and storytelling to sell unbelievable architectures.”

In this work of reintegration of the abandoned complex into pop culture we also find Meduza, Italian phenomenon of the house genre, with the music video“Lose Control” produced in featuring with Becky Hill and Goodboys.

Sleeping Beauties
Alexandre Humbert
Geo-Design: Junk
Eindhoven, Netherlands

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