manuel alvarez diestro documents north east asia's islands of industry

manuel alvarez diestro documents north east asia's islands of industry


manuel alvarez diestro has documented the isolated tower blocks of north east asia in a series of striking architectural photographs. taken across china and south korea, the series follows the photographer’s journey to the region’s various new and bizarrely isolated urban developments.

gimpo city in south korea



concerned with the relationship between humanity and urbanity, manuel alvarez diestro has previously chronicled the kaleidoscopic bridges of seoul, and the juxtaposition of concrete and country in south korea. his latest series sees the photographer travel to china as well, providing a fresh perspective on the region’s various new urban compounds. like islands of industry, the towering blocks of offices and apartments stand in stark contrast to the surrounding countryside, and seem to have developed in complete isolation, unconnected to any major urban nucleus.

incheon, south korea



‘while the city keeps growing, humans keep conquering the territory and in both china and south korea vertical densification seems the way to go’, explains the photographer. with an ever increasing population and expanding industrialization, often new development is realized before existing infrastructure can catch up — creating these tiny towering islands. portrayed as self contained worlds, the developments seem disconnected and misplaced from their surroundings. with this photo series, alvarez diestro aims to create, ‘a metaphor of human confinement and isolation with this fortress-like structures that are been built’.

zhuhai, china

zhuhai, china

incheon, south korea

cheonan, south korea

seoul, south korea

incheon, south korea



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: peter corboy | designboom

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