North Korean Architect Imagines the Future in Beautiful Paintings

He may live the impoverished nation of North Korea, home to the most notoriously totalitarian government in the world, but he can still create beautiful art.

An unnamed North Korean created these images, which depict a lush future of towering, interconnected buildings surrounded by green forests and mountains. The series is titled “Commissions for Utopia” and is currently on display at the Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy.

The images were depicted by British-born Nick Bonner, who commissioned the architect to paint depictions of what North Korean capitol Pyongyang might look like in a future where tourists are commonplace.

Bonner has a vested interest in the subject, as the founder of the foremost tourism agency in North Korea, the world’s least visited nation. Bonner’s company, Koryo tours, has the unique tour of working around the nation’s many absurd restrictions. Often, he showcases Pyongyang’s architectural marvels and considerable natural beauty.

The images work in visions of natural beauty, all of them containing plenty of green pastures beyond the surreal technology. They use natural stones instead of concrete, and one of the images depicts a bedroom designed with soothing curves to evoke a cave.

Technology-wise, you can see hotels standing tall on stilts, complexes built around waterfalls, and, in one case, a self-sustaining silk cooperative, complete with enormous wheels of solar panels and cigarette-shaped living quarters.

Politics aside, these North Korean paintings are a treat for the senses, so we thought we’d share them with you. Scroll through the slideshow above to view them all.