HUFFINGTON POST

North Korea's Interior Design Is Unlike Anything You've Seen

The country is so committed to building design that late leader Kim Jong Il wrote 340 pages about it.
National Drama Theater, Pyongyang
National Drama Theater, Pyongyang

Is it a movie set? Is it a model home? No, it's North Korea.

When London-based architecture critic Oliver Wainwright visited North Korea over the summer, he was stunned by the symmetry and color inside some the buildings he toured. Whether a sports complex, children's nursery or office building, the sites he visited were color-coded and neatly arranged. In a piece he wrote for the Guardian, Wainwright even likened these interiors to a Wes Anderson film set.

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang

Symmetry is one of the guiding principles of "Juche" architecture, which is inspired by a political philosophy of the same name. It uses design elements to exaggerate the perspective of statues and portraits of North Korean leaders and instill a sense of awe in the viewer, Wainwright told The WorldPost in an email. North Korea is so committed to Juche architecture that late leader Kim Jong Il wrote a 340-page treatise on it, named "On the Art of Architecture."

"It's a very theatrical device, which is why I think so many North Korean spaces feel like stage sets -- they're designed to evoke an emotional response, usually one of monumental power of the leader, compared to the insignificance of the masses," Wainwright said of the style. 

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang

But many of these interiors may vanish soon. In a quest to present North Korea as a modern nation, the government is undergoing a massive effort to construct more contemporary buildings in its capital city of Pyongyang, Wainwright wrote in a Sept. 11 article for The Guardian. Later that month, the Hermit Kingdom unveiled an impressively state-of-the-art airport and leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly ordered that some buildings replace their floors with more "modern" materials like vinyl and granite, Wainwright explained.

Take a look at Wainwright's photos of North Korean interiors and marvel: 

Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Paektusan Academy of Architecture, Pyongyang
Paektusan Academy of Architecture, Pyongyang
Kim Jong Suk Creche, Pyongyang
Kim Jong Suk Creche, Pyongyang
Changgwang Health and Recreation Complex, Pyongyang
Changgwang Health and Recreation Complex, Pyongyang
Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
National Drama Theater, Pyongyang
National Drama Theater, Pyongyang
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Rungrado 1st of May Stadium, Pyongyang
Paektusan Academy of Architecture, Pyongyang
Paektusan Academy of Architecture, Pyongyang
Pyongyang Diplomatic Club
Pyongyang Diplomatic Club
Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
Yanggakdo International Hotel, Pyongyang
Chongnyon Youth Hotel, Pyongyang
Chongnyon Youth Hotel, Pyongyang
Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang
Grand People’s Study House, Pyongyang

 Also on The WorldPost:

PHOTO GALLERY
Daily Life in North Korea
CONVERSATIONS