Author(s): Christopher Herwig
Photographer Christopher Herwig first noticed the unusual architecture of Soviet-era bus stops during a 2002 long-distance bike ride from London to St. Petersburg. Challenging himself to take one good photograph every hour, Herwig began to notice surprisingly designed bus stops on otherwise deserted stretches of road. Twelve years later, Herwig had covered more than 18,000 miles in 14 countries of the former Soviet Union, traveling by car, bike, bus and taxi to hunt down and document these bus stops.The local bus stop proved to be fertile ground for local artistic experimentation in the Soviet period, and was built seemingly without design restrictions or budgetary concerns. The result is an astonishing variety of styles and types across the region, from the strictest Brutalism to exuberant whimsy."Soviet Bus Stops" is the most comprehensive and diverse collection of Soviet bus stop design ever assembled, including examples from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Abkhazia, Georgia, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus and Estonia. Originally published in a quickly sold-out limited edition, "Soviet Bus Stops," named one of the best photobooks of 2014 by Martin Parr, is now available in a highly anticipated, expanded smaller-format trade edition.
Why Russia has the world's most beautiful bus stops ... Architects may have felt creatively stifled in the old Soviet empire - but there was one place where their imaginations were encouraged to run riot: the bus stop.--Oliver Wainwright "The Guardian " Perhaps it's the low stakes of structures with no windows, no doors and no permanent inhabitants that allowed the designers the freedom to flex their creative muscles; the results comprise seemingly limitless variations of expressive concrete waves, colourful murals and mosaics, and bold polyhedral forms. Set against the backdrop of rural, often desert-like terrains, these diminutive structures stand out like contained explosions of creativity.--David Dick-Agnew "Azure " Over 150 photographs of architectural exuberance dotting the streets and highways of the vast country...Although many of these structures are falling into disrepair from age and neglect, that they still exist is a testament to how meaningful they must have been in an otherwise homogenous built environment. Herwig's tenacity and devotion to accomplishing a project of this scale is extraordinary.--John Foster "The Design Observer " Designed by individual architects, each bus stop proffers a glimpse of the artistry that still flourished in an era when uniformity was imposed and creativity was often suppressed.--Claire Voon "Hyperallergic " Christopher Herwig's weirdly evocative photographs show how the loneliest corners of the former Soviet Union were enlivened by whacky bus shelters.... Most alien of all are the radiant Gaudi knock-offs in the disputed region of Abkhazia, where Soviet elites once took their beach holidays.--Roland Elliot Brown "The Spectator "