Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

If Mad Max were a brilliant architect, here's what he'd build

By Liz Stinson, Wired
updated 8:35 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Justin Plunkett's Con/Struct series blends the real with the fabricated. The South African designer and creative director has layered several images together and combined them with computer generated illustration to create a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic world. Justin Plunkett's Con/Struct series blends the real with the fabricated. The South African designer and creative director has layered several images together and combined them with computer generated illustration to create a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic world.
HIDE CAPTION
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
Mad Max architecture
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Justin Plunkett, a Cape Town designer, has created a Mad Max fantasy world
  • He layered multiple photographs, combining them with computer-generated illustration
  • The series is part study in South African architecture, part commentary on life in the country

(CNN) -- It's hard to know what's real and what's fake inside the worlds Justin Plunkett creates. That rusted merry-go-round-like structure in the above photo? That's a real-life playground in the Cape Town neighborhood of Lavender Hill. The monolithic roller coaster behind it? A product of Plunkett's 3-D animation skills.

Fascinating ways people try to leave their mark on the world

In his recent Con/struct series, Plunkett, a Cape Town designer and creative director, has created a Mad Max fantasy world, filled with tottering skyscrapers made of refuse from a bygone era. Each of his images is the result of multiple photographs layered together with computer-generated illustrations.

Plunkett had been amassing a collection of photographs taken in some of the most down-and-out neighborhoods of Cape Town. "I had been photographing places and environments for a while with no particular agenda or plan for them," he says. He'll take a tire from one, a metal container from another, the sky from a different photograph and then construct an illustrated architectural structure in the middle of it.

Pointed Commentary

The series is part study in South African architecture, part deep commentary on life in the country. In one image you see a Dutch-style home (illustrated), often considered to be a mark of wealth, set amongst gravel and a tattered, old sofa.

In another you see an illustrated monument-like structure constructed from corrugated iron in the middle of a rubble-strewn field. Plunkett has turned this corrugated iron, which is often used to build shacks, into a thing of grand beauty. Context is key to really appreciating Plunkett's work.

It's a mash of references that are real, but they become quite fictional in the end.
Justin Plunkett

People around the world pose with everything they eat in a day

At its most basic, the series addresses the idea of empowerment, and what it means in to gain it and lose it in South Africa. As a creative director who often finds himself working with corporations that shill an empty, unattainable idea of success, Con/struct was a way to spark a conversation. "There's an enormous gap between the realities in impoverished areas and what success actually equates to," he says.

The ambiguous relationship to reality is what makes Plunkett's work so fascinating. You know deep down that what you're looking at isn't actually there, but the images do make you wonder: What if it were?

"It's a mash of references that are real, but they become quite fictional in the end," he says. "I'd like people to look at it and ask themselves some kind of question. Is it real or is it not? What does it mean if it's real or if it isn't? That's where it becomes really interesting."

Thirty years after Chernobyl's meltdown, gripping photos expose the human fallout

Why does sleeping in just make me more tired?

Why you always seem to choose the slowest line

Subscribe to WIRED magazine for less than $1 an issue and get a FREE GIFT! Click here!

Copyright 2011 Wired.com.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Style
updated 9:47 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
The Green Vault in Dresden Castle houses one of the largest collections of jewels and objets d'art in Europe.
updated 12:10 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Forty-three years before the first issue of Playboy hit newsstands, Egon Schiele released some of the most shocking nudes of the century.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
The Chinese leadership has called for less "weird architecture" to be built in the country. Does it mean the end of structures like these?
updated 10:03 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Luxury enthusiasts, rejoice: Fondation Louis Vuitton is bringing its upscale tastes to the art world with a new museum.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Today, mourning a loved one means donning the most formal black outfit in one's closet. But 150 years ago, it meant buying a whole new wardrobe.
updated 10:27 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Some artists are obsessed with making things tiny. Others are into vastness. Here are incredible works from both ends of the size spectrum.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Close one eye, and it could almost -- almost -- pass for a regular underground train. Close the other, and it looks like a space shuttle from Star Trek.
updated 10:31 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Soup that is rumored to be radioactive; 10 people sharing a single silk hat. It could only be Frieze London, one of the world's leading art fairs.
updated 10:22 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Contemporary Chinese art can be a thorny jungle for the uninitiated. Here are the movements and artists you need to know.
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
In spite of all the sexier pictures around us, the titillating pin-ups of the early 20th century are still in demand.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Thu October 9, 2014
Iris has autism and cannot speak, but her stunning paintings sell for thousands of dollars.
updated 5:13 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Here's a look at the world's finest feats of facial hair, from sculpted sideburns to manicured mustaches.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT