Author(s): James Scullin Nicole Reed
North Korea is one the world’s most authoritarian and isolated countries, cut off from global trade and Western influence. Yet its doors remain open to tourists who the government welcomes and is keen to show the North Korea it wants them to see. Under constant supervision from local tour guides, a visitor is not permitted to walk freely along the streets of Pyongyang. This leaves considerable downtime spent within the confines of one of Pyongyang’s architecturally beguiling hotels where travellers dine in grand banquet halls, belt out numbers in kitsch karaoke rooms and take in the evening view from one of the hotels’ revolving restaurants.
In Hotels of Pyongyang, North Korean tour leader James Scullin and award winning photographer Nicole Reed document each of the hotels in North Korea’s capital that permit foreign visitors. The book captures the surprising variety of North Korean architecture and design, from the historic brutalist Soviet exteriors to the more modern glistening interiors of white and shining marble.In a country of such uniformity, a hidden creativity is reflected in the hotels, where furniture, crockery and colour schemes each depict a personal design choice rather than instruction by official state decree.