Take a tour of a fictional entertainment resort. The Burj Al Babas housing development in Mudurnu, Turkey, was designed to attract wealthy golf tourists, with luxury villas that offered a pastiche of a French chateau. Construction began in 2014, but after five years the project was abandoned, resulting in a huge waste of finances and materials and hundreds of unsold three-storey houses. The dream of a valley full of Disney castles has replaced by a ghost town—250,000 square metres of cement smothering the formerly green landscape. Burj Al Babas is a fable for our time, a story of waste, of f…
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Exhibition Debut

Found Images of Burj al Babas in Popular Media

Promotional Renderings of Talia Saray Villas

Burj al Babas v. Sleeping Beauties Research Diagrams

Sleeping Beauties Film Stills

Sleeping Beauties Film Poster

Sleeping Beauties Final Film

Sleeping Beauties

Alexandre Humbert

Take a tour of a fictional entertainment resort.

The Burj Al Babas housing development in Mudurnu, Turkey, was designed to attract wealthy golf tourists, with luxury villas that offered a pastiche of a French chateau. Construction began in 2014, but after five years the project was abandoned, resulting in a huge waste of finances and materials and hundreds of unsold three-storey houses. The dream of a valley full of Disney castles has replaced by a ghost town—250,000 square metres of cement smothering the formerly green landscape.

Burj Al Babas is a fable for our time, a story of waste, of financial and political decision-making and of greed. But it could also be an opportunity. Sleeping Beauties turns this ghost town into a summer resort that could generate a new source of income for a UNESCO World Heritage region. In Humbert’s vision, visitors pay €10 to walk around and photograph the 732 three-story royal villas, inventing their own narratives to fill the empty rooms.

For the exhibition GEO–DESIGN: Junk. All That Is Solid Melts into Trash, Humbert has created an immersive film installation of this speculative resort.

Credits

Written and directed by Alexandre Humbert

Voice: Aimée Betancourt

Music composition: Arnaud Pujol

Additional music: “Poor Aurora,” Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney Records, 1959

References

Amro Mohamed, “Burj Albabas,” YouTube, April 14, 2015 Link

Aria Bendix, “There’s a $200 million abandoned village of Disney-like castles in Turkey. Take a look inside.” Business Insider, March 4, 2019. Link

Cagan Koc, “Builder of $200 Million Turkish Chateaux Project Goes Bankrupt,” Bloomberg, November 26, 2018. Link

Carlotta Gall, “Want a Castle in Turkey? You May Find a Bargain,” New York Times, March 3, 2019. Link

Danny, “Disney, like castles, was built for wealthy Gulf investors but ended up inhabited by Ghosts,” Likes Mag Link

KSC, “This Deserted Turkish Village Is Filled With Hundreds Of Creepy Disney like Castles,” YouTube, February 5, 2019 Link

John Bolt, “Recession Has Turned Burj Al Babas a Ghost Town,” Absolute News Journal, January 18, 2019. Link

NBC News, “Disney-Style Castles Dominate Ghost Town After Development Goes Bust,” YouTube, February 1, 2019 Link

Olga Mascolo, “Swathe of unsellable Disney houses blight Silk Road site,” Domus, January 15, 2019. Link

Prestige Life Real Estate, “300 Disney-style castles lie empty in £151m Turkish ghost town,” The Guardian, January 28, 2019. Link

RT, “Bizzare fairytail housing development in Turkey turns into ghost town,” YouTube, January 30, 2019. Link

Steph Auteri, “There’s An Abandoned Village Full Of Disney-Like Castles—Check Out The Pictures,” simplemost, July 8, 2019. Link

Steve Palace, “How a Developer’s Dream of Selling Fairytale Castles Turned into a Raw Nightmare,” The Vintage News, February 9, 2019. Link

“This Isn’t a Future Disney Theme Park, Just the Burj al Babas Dream Castle Ghost Town in Turkey,” Techeblog, February 14, 2019 Link

“Why nobody lives in castles in this ghost town,” Online Focus, March 4, 2019. Link

World Heritage Convention, “Historic Guild Town of Mudurnu,” UNESCO, 2015. Link

Bio

Alexandre Humbert is a director and conceptual designer constructing cinematographic objects. Since graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven, Alexandre has collaborated with a broad range of designers and cultural institutions to animate things through motion picture. His understanding of the design process guides him to explore the close relationship that exists between humans and objects through installations, fiction and experimental films.

Based between Paris and Amsterdam, his works have been presented internationally and are part of the collection of Design Museum Gent and MUDAM Luxembourg. In parallel to his practice, Humbert is a mentor at Design Academy Eindhoven, Iceland University of the Arts, ENSCI Les Ateliers, HEAD Geneva and HDK Göteborg.

Contacts

alexandrehumbert.com Link

@objectinterview Link