The Great Wave: Iconic Hokusai Work Splashes Across Moscow Apartments

In Moscow, the iconic “Great Wave off Kanagawa” woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai has reached greater heights than ever before as it breaks across the facades of six apartment towers. The print stretches from one building to the next as it crests and falls, taking up a total of 645,834 square feet.

These towers join three additional buildings to form Etalon City, a new mixed-use complex in the lush residential South Butovo area of southwest Moscow. The other, more irregularly shaped structures feature graphic abstracted silhouettes of Chicago, New York, Barcelona and Monaco, while the six “Great Wave” towers are located along the highway for maximum visibility.

Oversized murals can go a long way toward brightening up an otherwise unremarkable or even drab urban area, especially at this scale. How different would our cities look and feel if more architects and developers made bolder use of color and adornment? Vivid and cheerful architecture is definitely memorable, like these 11 unusually bright towns and neighborhoods around the world.