Magdalena Obmalko is a first-year student of BA (Hons) Design Management and Cultures. Her project ‘Utopian Urbanism’ is a portfolio of work focused around the subject of utopia within a city and constitutes the ultimate guide book for utopian urbanists.
“The concept of my catalogue focuses on the problem of visualising utopian ideals in the context of urbanism.The general pursuit of perfection is deeply embedded in the human nature and involves both the human itself and his habitat. However, the sense of utopia is generally connoted with an unrealistic product of human imagination.The majority of projects considering the utopian vision of an urban space resembled rather a dystopian image and in the end, met with failure. In my catalogue, I would like to present another aspect of utopian urbanism, which focuses on people and their needs, and that way contributes to making utopias real. It is related to the accurate analysis of the multidimensional relationship between a city and its inhabitants. City, as a form of collectivity, comprises a variety of communities and confers on the society a sense of identity. The relation is bilateral and concerns many aspects. The society creates itself urban imaginaries and thereby, constitutes the existence of a city.
The catalogue has a form of a kit for radical urbanists, designers and ordinary people as well, who are interested in the concept of utopia within the city. It consists of a booklet with a written part and enclosed map introducing the brutalist architecture of London, which at some point in the past was considered the architecture of utopian visions. My ultimate purpose was to present the problem of envisioning utopias from different perspectives.
The earthy colours of the design symbolise the urban image of a city and refer to the brutalist and modern architecture in general, which is marked by the concrete materials and a raw look. Accordingly, the minimalist character of my design fits into the modernist buildings’ aesthetics. The transparent envelope, however, embodies the idea of a set and forms kind of a packaging, which creates the intentional experience for a reader.” (Obmalko, Utopian Urbanism, 2017)