Raphael Olivier is a french photographer based in Shanghai, China, with an interest for urban development and mega-city lifestyles. He works on commercial assignments around Asia covering architecture, interiors, corporate, industrial, hotels & resorts, lifestyle and documentary.
Pyongyang, capital city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (a.k.a North Korea), is home to about 3 milion people and only visited by a small number of tourists each year due to the so-called “closed” status of the country. However this is not exactly true and the DPRK is gradually opening up to international travel with visitors from all backgrounds coming in increasing numbers. Those who do make it to Pyongyang only come to find a surprizingly beautiful city full of large avenues, green parks and spectacular architecture. Almost completely destroyed during the Korean War (1950 – 1953), Pyongyang raised from its ashes in the 1960’s and 70’s with the help of local architects and designers often trained in the Soviet Union, resulting in impressive structures marked by influences of constructivist, modernist, futurist and brutalist architectural styles. This photo essay aims to give a small insight into the beautifully preserved vintage socialist architecture of Pyongyang, one of the most isolated and unknown cities in the world.