City in a Bottle

A few of Takanori Aiba’s creations. He says ‘All my works are created trough [sic] my extraordinary fantastic and sometimes even chemical imaginations’ – I wonder how many of us would make similar claims. Surely all the best, most original creations start as an inexplicable – possibly drug-fueled – urge to build a world out of say, ice-cream packaging or the Michelin Man I think these images capture the feeling of a hive city as I would imagine it, at least in terms of the complexity of the walkways and the structures that appear to be growing out of each other organically, maybe they are a bit clean for my tastes – a bit more Studio Ghibli than 40k – but give them a few thousand years of entropy and I think we would be there.

You can find more of Takanori Aiba’s work here or on my Pinterest board here. His bonsai tree sculptures are also fantastic.

I always liked stories of the great hive cities growing perpetually upwards, building on top of old structures that became derelict or were abandoned or collapsed. In time these structures too become obsolete and so by digging down through the layers you uncover forgotten zones, forgotten architectural styles and maybe even forgotten cultures.

There is obviously always a difficult trade off between making scenery that looks spectacular and scenery that is practical. I can imagine a fantastic gaming board based on Kowloon Walled City but I’m not sure how I’d store it, or move models around on it, or keep my cat from eating it. It seems like more and more often scenery is made using pre-fabricated parts, and just like I can’t really stand being able to easily recognise the source parts in a figure conversion, I don’t like it with my scenery either. I think looking to other fields – art (like this), model railways, architectural models, etc is the way to go to stop things from becoming stale, and though there is no doubt that using standard kits is useful in moderation, I do miss the days of making everything from scratch (or from toys) like my scenery making hero, Ironhands.

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