by Koldo Lus-Arana
Brought up in a family of architects, the Belgian artist François Schuiten has created since the late 70s graphic and narrative works of increasing complexity. In the saga Les Cités Obscures, created along with writer Benoît Peeters, both authors dig into the limits of architecture and style through metropolises that revise the architectural and literary utopias from Piranesi to Verne or Ferriss.
If the stories told by Schuiten and Peeters refer both to Verne and Borges, their environments render a decimononic futurism bred in the esthetics of the XIXth century. Taking as a starting point the urban fantasies of the turn of the century, Schuiten offers a revision and development, up to an urban scale, of the Art Nouveau style of his home town, Brussels.
The article presents an analysis of Schuiten and Peeters’s Art Nouveau cities in relation to the works of the architects of the late XIXth century, as well as to the future city of the 1920s and the architectural works of his brother, the architect Luc Schuiten.
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