Edo Tokyo. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Blade Runner-style nightscapes. Edo Museum by Kiyonori Kikutake, Tokyo – All photos by Tom Blachford.

Photo Essay – In Tokyo “you might have an idea where you are, but no idea ‘when’ you are”. Archipanic met Australian photographer Tom Blachford who portraited the city’s Blade Runner-style architectural nightscape.


RELATED STORY: Check our Tokyo contemporary architecture guide…

Nagakin Capsule Tower. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Nagakin Capsule Tower.

Tom Blachford’s photo essay captured neon-lit and human-free iconic buildings by Metabolists pioneers  such as Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower and Kenzo Tage’s Fuji TV Building but also Philippe Stark’s Asahi Tower.

Big Sight. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Tokyo Big Sight conference center.

I first visited Tokyo with my father, and I was strucked by an inexplicable feeling that i had somehow been transported into the future or to a parallel dimension.” Says Tom Blachford to Archipanic. In this project, “my goal was to try and translate that feeling of awe, confusion and mystery that i had felt on my first visit and on every visit since.”


RELATED STORY: Archipanic sneaked a peek in the iconic and neglected Nagakin Capsule Tower, the mother of all Tokyo capsule hotels.

Shizuoka Press. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Shizuoka Press building.

Archipanic: How was this project born?

Tom Blachford: I was first approached by an agency looking after Asahi Beer in Australia who gave me the amazing opportunity to to shoot with an open brief with their support. Their only conditions were that i shoot exactly what i wanted to shoot as long as it involved architecture and night. 

The Golden Flame. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

The Golden Flame by Philippe Stark @ Asahi HQs.

Archipanic: Blade Runner has a quite alienating imprint, do you think that these buildings – even if they original purpose was opposite – are alienating?

Tom Blachford: Not really. Blade runner does explore the Dystopian landscape and condition, in this project I was interested to explore how these buildings had aged and progressed.


RELATED STORY: Find out more about sci-fi architecture and design on Archipanic…

Fuji Tv. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Fuji Tv by Kenzo Tange.

Most were designed with utopian ideals but some of them in their age may have turned into much more dystopian nightmares. The buildings are certainly awe inspiring and impressive but i think that within their design they allow for an immersive experience that is well considered.


RELATED STORY: Find out more about sci-fi architecture and design on Archipanic…

The Battleship. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Tokyo Battleship building.

Archipanic: Why did you choose not to feature people in the pics? 

Tom Blachford: I think the best art is the kind that asks more questions than it can ever answer. By leaving out the human element it allows the viewer to script their own story within the image without my interference. From a practical point of view getting people to hold still for 30 seconds is also impossible.

Deckard's Den. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Tokyo Deckard’s Den.

All photos by Tom Blachford.


RELATED STORY: From Paris to Pyongyang but also Chicago, Hong Kong and the former U.S.S.R. Discover more great photo essays.

Zig Zag. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Zig Zag.

Orange Zipper. Tokyo Blade Runner-style nightscapes - Photo by Tom Blachford

Orange Zipper, Tokyo.