Working inside of a former Orthodox church and unable to renovate, alter or touch any part of it, the team at Wutopia Lab got nowhere to go but get creative. Using more than 45 tons of metal, they built a ‘church within a church’ – drawing attention to the original artwork on the walls by creating a ‘see-through’ structure that resembles a cage where we are ‘in’, and the object of attention is outside.

Shooting such a bold design can be tricky, because the subject is dual – showing both the flesh and bones in juxtaposition. Working 12 hours straight overnight to capture both natural and artificial light, we were able to portray the imposing feeling of contemplation that is Sinan Books at the former St Nicholas Church.


CLIENT: Wutopia Lab
PROJECT: Sinan Books
PHOTOGRAPHY: Charlie Tonelli
YEAR: 2020
LOCATION: Shanghai