Francois Prost

When the sun comes up, these postmodern fun palaces show off their architectural quirks. 

During Francois Prost's vacation to Burgundy in 2009, he found himself drawn to a stand-alone night club with broken glass and ripped fliers strewn across its parking lot.

"It reminded me of my teenage years," says the 34 year-old graphic designer based in Paris.

Prost, who takes on photography projects in his free time, snapped a shot of the club only to forget about it soon after. Rediscovering the picture a couple years later he decided he had an idea for a series. 

In a project simply called "clubs," Prost takes viewers around the suburban discotheques of France and Belgium after the sun comes up and the partiers go home. He's been working on it for three years with no plans to stop any time soon.

Why not the more hyped-up city center ones? "Those places were too packed and not that interesting to photograph," says Prost, adding that "there's not enough space and they're often parked in basements."

Instead, "clubs" gives us a look at the kinds of postmodern gems expensive, old city centers can't provide. "I was only looking for nightclubs that had a 'face,' the ones that would play the most with the cliché of nightclubs," Prost tells us. 

(François Prost)

Perhaps none embody that spirit quite like one club he found called "La Fiesta." "When I discovered the place I was kind of hypnotized," says Prost. "The club was standing in a small industrial zone. The entrance was decorated with plastic palm trees, the different signs were very '70s and '80s-looking. The combination of all the colors was giving something off very charming. Everything seemed so well crafted. I completely fell in love with it."

While these ridiculous-looking places with ample parking remind Prost of his younger, more hormonal days, he's quite sure their appeal is universal. Hence his plan to turn the series into a book.

"Clubs are, for many, a place for 'first times'" he tells us. "A first kiss, a first time getting drunk, a first sensation of total liberty. Those moments are crucial in our paths to becoming adults."

(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)
(François Prost)

H/T: It's Nice That

About the Author

Mark Byrnes
Mark Byrnes

Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design, history, and photography.

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