Mad world: the forgotten housing estates of Paris

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Post-war housing estates have a bad rep, often justifiably so.
 
Many – especially those in Britain – suffered through a combination of poor materials, a lack of supervision and the damp climate. In continental Europe, on first glance at least, things look better. 
 
French photographer Laurent Kronental wanted to document the estates or ‘grand ensembles’ around Paris, the banlieus now best known for their public order problems, but in the past a model of what architects thought would be a better way of living. In particular he wanted to focus on the lives of these estates’ elderly residents.
 
The result is a stunning collection of photographs that juxtapose the formal poses of the old people with the designed-by-a-six-year-old-on-fizzy-pop madness of the residential blocks. 
 
According to his website, the artist, “felt a need to examine their living conditions and shed light over a sometimes-neglected generation. Exposing these unsung and underestimated suburban areas is a means to reveal the poetry of ageing environments slowly vanishing, and with them, the memory of modernist utopia.”
 
And as Paris turns on itself again, you wonder what these elderly residents think of the future these monumental projects promised. Not that much by the looks of it. 
 
If you want to find out more go to Kronental’s website here







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