These Extraterrestrial Outposts Are Actually Suburban Strip Malls
Suburban shopping centers are the definition of banality. For Spanish photographer Valerio Platania though, their structured, homogenous architecture and their vast yet isolated environments call to mind the scenery of science fiction. In his book BASE, Platania re-imagines these boring centers of commerce as colonies on a far-off planet.
“[They resemble] more a moon base or a planetary base,” he says. “It’s like going on a big space trip but stopping 30 kilometers outside of the city just to refuel.”
To make these places at least a little engaging, planners often include designs or decorations that stand out as strange, even alien. BASE was inspired by the sense of the surreal that came over him while wandering around a shopping center and seeing something that had no business in the suburbs of Madrid. “Suddenly a huge plastic giraffe was standing in front of me, just in the middle of nowhere,” he says. “I thought, ‘Ok, that’s weird.’”