Seoul Brutalist Revival - Korea Architecture Photographer

I was recently in South Korea for a commercial architectural assignment, so I decided to arrive a few days early to take some time for myself and walk around Seoul, a city I always love to explore.

Seoul has been developping very fast since its recovery from the Korean war, yet in the 21st century the city has actually turned into a new phase where it's moving away from a boring industrial center and rapidly becoming one of the most trendy cities in Asia.

One of the most visually obvious aspect of this new era is the super-modern architecture poping up everywhere. The city's skyline is turning into a massive futuristic landscape out of science fiction film, and amidst this construction frenzy brutalist architecture is making a huge come-back, with a modern twist. Whether for residential, commercial, institutional or religious buildings, the use of raw concrete, bold shapes and sharp angles is becoming predominant all around the city.

Through this personal study about Neo-Brutalism, I aim to give a small glimpse into the booming architectural scene of Seoul, one of the world's fastest developping city and Asia's rising stars.

Raphael Olivier is a commercial photographer based in Asia for about 10 years, currently living between Hong Kong and Singapore, and available to shoot architecture, interiors, hospitality, retail and advertising campaigns all around Asia and beyond.


China Advertising Photographer - Uber Campaign

A few months ago, I was commisioned to produce a set of key visuals for ride-sharing app Uber's brand campaign in China. The images aim to convey a feeling of warmth, friendliness, trust, comfort and simplicity.

Raphael Olivier is a commercial photographer based in Asia for about 10 years, currently living between Hong Kong and Singapore, and available for assignments around the region corporate, editorial, lifestyle, advertising campaigns and more.


Singapore Architecture Photography

Singapore is an incredible playground for architects and in the past decade has seen world-class flagship projects coming out of the ground such as Interlace by OMA, Reflections at Keppel Bay by Daniel Libeskind, South Beach by Foster and Partners, LaSalle College of the Arts by RSP Architects, Orchard Central by DP Architects or the icnonic Marina Bay Sands by Moshe Safdie.

Singapore's architecture has succesfully developed into its own distinctive style in a hot tropical climate with lush vegetation, placing environmental integration and preservation at the core of its values. Today Singapore is well recongnised as one of the world's greenest cities and as a pioneer in renewable energies, with buildings integrating natural cooling systems, reflective surfaces, open air spaces, cascading gardens and smart landscaping with easy access to parks, water, public transport and outdoor activities facilities.

Here are a few of these projects I recently photographed, and will be back in Singapore soon to continue documenting urban design and architecture. Feel free to get in touch with me for more information or shooting request.

Raphael Olivier is a commercial photographer based in Asia for about 10 years, currently living between Hong Kong and Singapore, and available for assignments around the region including architecture, interiors, luxury events, hospitality, advertising campaigns and more.


Personal Project - Ordos, A Failed Utopia

I recently completed a personal project about Ordos, Inner Mongolia, mostly known as China's largest "Ghost Town".

Ordos is actually a regular provincial city located in the Gobi Desert region of Northern China, home to about 1 million people, and sitting on one of the richest land in the country with plenty of natural ressources such as coal, gas and rare earth metals. So rich that in early 2000's the local government decided to invest massively in the creation of an all new city, a "New Ordos", about 1 hour south from the Old Ordos. This new city would become a flamboyant political, cultural and economic center for the region, featuring state of the art infrastructure and world class architecture. A futuristic new capital of the North East, designed from scratch and meant to host over a million souls. Unfortunately this heavy investment coupled with poor planning resulted in very high property prices, so much that nobody actually moved in, leaving the city totally empty and abandoned. This phenomenon was well covered by the international press and made quite a few headlines world-wide.

Years later, I decided to visit Ordos to see what had become of the infamous city, documenting this unique decaying built landscape with a purely architectural approach. This series "Ordos - A Failed Utopia" was well received by the photography community and circulated widely online with features in several well respected blogs and magazines such as Archdaily, Dezeen, Fubiz, Digital Rev, Tech Insider, Business Insider, Wonderful Machine, Lost at E Minor and a few others.


Personal Project - Chongqing, Urban Jungle

Chongqing, Western China, is the ultimate urban jungle. With a municipality covering the size of Austria and home to almost 30 milion people, some call it the world's largest city. Eventhough most of its territorry and population are still rural, the urban core is under massive expansion and Chongqing is now the fastest growing city in the world. Yet this development is mostly wild and unregulated (the city is notorious for its corruption), which over the past years has led to an incredible forest of buildings taking over mountains and surrounding farm-lands, creating one of the most overwhelming urban landscapes on Earth. The hot and humid weather of Chongqing coupled with the total absence of coordinated landscape design allows for an abundant and lush vegetal wildlife to thrive everywhere in the city, taking over streets and buildings in a wonderfully chaotic way. This photo essay aims to show the unique scenery created by Chinese mass urbanization, endemic lawlessness, moutainous topography and subtropical climate, as a very organic urban sprawl out of a science fiction movie.


China Industrial Photographer - Tunnel Drilling

At some point last May my agency sent me out to shoot one of the most exiting industrial assignment I've had the chance to come across until this day. I was commissioned to document the drilling of a tunnel in Nanjing, which will host a new metro line linking the two sides of the city across the Yangtze River.


Raphael Olivier is a corporate & industrial photographer based in Asia for about 10 years, currently living between Hong Kong and Singapore, and available for assignments around the region including annual reports, corporate social responsibility reports, advertising campaigns and more.


Personal Project - Hong Kong Architecture Study in Black & White

I came to Hong Kong for the first time in 2008, expecting to find a futuristic metropolis straight out of a fiction movie. My big surprise was to find a city that had been probably very modern at some point in the 70's and which was now slowly decaying in the humidity and heat, with a delicious vintage feel to it. Since then I've been back many times and the unique architectural landscape of this city continues to amaze me every time. In the frame of a personal photographic study on urbanism in Asia, I have worked on several series about architecture and urban spaces around Hong Kong.

Below are some recent out-takes from my latest trip to the island.