The Steampunk World Tour turns southwest from the Rodina to that crossroads of cultures, Romania. Steeped in misty mountains, eerie folklore and marked by the almost innumerable boots of invaders from the dawn or history, Romania is rich in the romance and lore that makes for great Steampunk adventure. With these preconceptions, we expected to find many more traces of Steampunk culture than we did.
Steampunk in Romania appears to be something of a developing culture. We found much more evidence of Gothic (duh!) and, interestingly, techno-electronic culture. But that doesn’t mean that they are bereft of steam influence. Quite the contrary. One of the major highlights in Romania is the Joben Bistro in the city of Cluj-Napoca. It is reputed to be based on a Jules Verne Nautilus submarine theme. As you look at the photos, we’re sure that you’ll agree, it’s the kind of place we want to spend some time in.
Romanian Steampunk is also infiltrating other arts beyond interior design. We’ve found some truly awesome art by Paula Duta; a gorgeous typeface from Romania; and be sure to read the interview with Steampunk author Diana Parparita. Lastly, we think you’ll enjoy looking in on the blog Egophobia and the Steampunk video channel of Puppetmissing. Both offer some wonderful insights into the growing Romanian Steampunk scene. We look forward to great things from there.
The heart of any pub, the bar at Joban Bistro (or John’s Bar) in Cluj-Napoca – image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
Stunning wall art gives contrast to the Nautilus theme. – image courtesy of lushome.com
This beautiful airship fixture adorns the ceiling/ – image courtesy of thechive.com
And, it appears to be able to change colors. How cool is that? – image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
The decorating is completely Surround-Steam. Check out these torpedo like structures. Very slick. – image courtesy of thechive.com
A view of what’s been described as a “small room” in the pub. We love the choice of color. Brass and purple. Awesome! – image courtesy of thechive.com
Here’s the cover of an anthology of Romanian Steampunk stories. Be sure to check out the interview with one of the contributing authors Diana Parparita – image courtesy of worldsf.wordpress.com
This hand made Steampunk television. We understand it was offered for sale on an auction site. Too bad we didn’t see it then! – image courtesy of boingboing.net
This is one example of the incredible Romanian Steampunk art scene. Paula Duta created this superb work. – image courtesy of awesomeinventions.com
Another stunning example of Romanian graphic art is found in this type face. It combines elements of Gothica and Steampunk for a truly unique appearance. – image courtesy of designyourway.net
Two stunning examples of Romanian Steampunk costuming. You can truly see the influence of multiple cultures in these amazing vestments. – image courtesy of steamfashion.livejournal.com
Here is another example of finely detailed Steampunk outfitting. More conventional but still, quite stunning in its complexity. – image courtesy of egophobia.ro
As the Steampunk World Tour chugged across the border into Russia, a great deal of consternation developed. Many forums descry the seeming lack of evidence for a thriving Russian Steampunk culture. Not so say we!
At first, like so many others, we found mostly Dieselpunk images and Russian inspired images. Not that those aren’t really wonderful – but we wanted the real deal – and did we ever find it. There are some truly innovative Russian Steampunk artists out there. They are not only creating amazing works on an almost monumental scale but they’re doiing it by recycling a lot of stuff which, in other countries, might very well find its way into a landfill.
Rather than waxing on we thought we’d leave you with a final thought before getting on with the image gallery and the videos. From innovative costumes to quirky sculpture to superb music to animated film, there is a fascinating and engaging Russian Steampunk community. We hope that you enjoy this stop along the Steampunk World Tour. We sure did.
We are not the first tour to find a rich and vibrant steam community in Russia. and we’d like to express our gratitude to englishrussia.com; triablysteam.com; eurasianet.org; and steampunker.ru among others.
This is one of the many amazing and exciting sculptures from recycled metal done by Igor Verniy. image courtesy of – boredpanda.com
Here’s another of Verniy’s incredible metal creatures. Shades of “THEM!” from the 50’s. Image courtesy of – boredpanda.com
This is our favorite of all of Verniy’s creature sculptures. Again, we bring it to you courtesy of boredpanda.com
Since before the days of the Kievan Rus, the Russians have been known for their delicate and intricate woodworking. That tradition lives on in the Steampunk works of Boris Bazhenov and Alexander Bobin – image courtesy of eurasianet.org
And check out what Dmitry Tihonenko did with an old but working fridge he got from his grandmother! We don’t know about you but we’d love to have it in our kitchen! – image courtesy of englishrussia.com
Talk about monumental scale Steampunk art, check out this converted Soviet era boiler. – image courtesy of tumblr.com/search/russian%20steampunk
On the less monumental scale side of Russian Steampunk art, check out this gorgeous fountain pen. I’d love to take this thing for a spin around a chapter or two, wouldn’t you? – image courtesy of steampunker.ru
We also love this Steampunk Frog by Vladimir Gvozdev. The intricate yet whimsical nature of the work really speaks to us. – image courtesy of viola.bz
Before we leave the artistic side of Russian Steampunk, we want to make you aware of this animated film “Ku!-Kin-Dza-Dza”. from the noted Russian director Georgiy Daneliya. We plan to Google it and find a copy to watch. It looks absolutely charming. – image courtesy of movpins.com
The most dramatic image of Russian Steampunk clothing comes from Anton. We adore the background! – image courtesy of russiamagazine.livejournal.com
We also really admire the ‘Mad Steampunk Scientist’ look this chap has created. – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
The time honored elements of Steampunk come together in this stunning black and white ensemble. But, what’s that in her hand? – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
This Steampunk puppeteer seems to be channeling his inner Johnny Depp. WE love the puppet. It reminds us of Edgar Allen Poe. – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
This young lady is definitely ready for a night on the town in Steampunk Moscow. Time pieces, hat, chains, and – of course that indispensable wardrobe accessory, a pistol. – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
We saved this chap’s costume for next to the last because it’s just soooo darned cool! – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
We’ve seen a lot of creative costumes so far on the Steampunk World Tour but, despite (because of?) it’s sheer simplicity, this one is probably the most striking and innovative we’ve come across thusfar. – image courtesy of trialbysteam.com
My Polish pride is showing. I really would love to have this on a shirt or sweatshirt! Image courtesy of nox-dl.deviantart.com
Today’s stop – Poland. Poland is a land of rich traditions and perseverance Her history has been alternately sad and triumphant but through all of it the Poles have maintained a dogged sense of resilient self identity. Is it any wonder then that we find a Steampunk community which embraces tradition, dreams of alternate histories, and exhibits a unique style; all with a wonderful sense of humor?
From the gorgeous Wodna Wieża restaurant in Pszczyna to the awesome Mini Cooper punked out by the Polish firm Carlex Design or the gorgeous fashion offerings of Black Garden, the Polish Steampunk community is one of the most vibrant and exuberant in the world!
Enjoy perusing the images we’ve found of while learning more about the Steampunk in Poland. Be sure to check out the links to the video and Steampunk Poland‘s Facebook pages.
See you at the next stop along the tour!
We open with a historic image of a train that ran in Poland in the 1930s. Not a steam engine but it rather sets the tone, don’t you think? – image courtesy of dieselpunks.org
You can see the historic vision echoed in this imaginative steampunk engine by Polish artist Jarosław Jaśnikowski. – image courtesy of daily-steampunk.com
Here’s another example of Jaśnikowski’s artwork. We love the etheric landscape & airship! – image courtesy of daily-steampunk.com
Here we see Jaśnikowski blending steampunk and dieselpunk imagery. So very cool! – image courtesy of daily-steampunk.com
Here’s a view of the amazing Wodna Wieża restaurant in Pszczyna. Great design oozes from every corner. We REALLY want to go there! – image courtesy of steampunk.wonderhowto.com
Here’s a shot of some of the lighting inside the restaurant. Amazing, isn’t it? – image courtesy of polandbestrestaurants.pl
Private nooks also dot the restaurant. Can’t you imagine yourself there right now? – image courtesy of pszczyna.wikimapia.org
Anyone recognize the white haired, mustachioed gent in the middle? No, well it’s Lec Wolenza, former President of Poland and the leader of Solidarity, the movement which toppled the Communist regime in Poland. – image courtesy of mkuzmicz.blog.onet.pl
Polish Steampunk fashion is amazing. Look at the balloon skirt. So elegant yet so punk! – image courtesy of black-garden.pl
And who wouldn’t want these shoes? Colleen simply drools over this picture. – image courtesy of black-garden.pl
Another take on Black Garden designs. This one is so innocent looking yet so very in tune with Steampunk. – image courtesy of black-garden.com
Here we see Polish Steampunk fashion trending toward the Gothic. – image courtesy of daily-steampunk.com
Here’s a promo photo of the Steampunked Mini Countryman as designed by Poland’s Carlex Design. – image courtesy of autoevolution.com
This image gives you a good idea of how wonderfully tricked out the interior of the Countryman is! – image courtesy of autoevolution.com
A Polish Steampunk magazine cover. This is apparently an anthology of steam powered stories. – image courtesy of ksiazki.polter.pl
This wonderful painting is by Jakub Różalski, another fine Polish painter. It is part of a site used to teach Polish history and focuses on the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1921. What a great use of art and Steampunk to stimulate interest in history! – image courtesy of vice.com
“The Hungarian steam punk community is lively and growing. They also have gatherings, like a picnic on old vehicles, and other time travels. If you love sci fi romance, and the revisiting the past with the present and future techniques, you may wish to meet these guys. You can contact them on the Sztimpank Facebook page or via email at sztpunk [at] gmail.com. They have a list of recommended shops in Budapest to buy some cool steampunk stuff, from corsets through jewelleries to cool gear stuff like steam punk goggles, wrist watches, etc. They may also give you a couple of ideas, things to do for a steam punk in Budapest, Hungary, like visiting the Museum of Transport in the City Park of Budapest, eating at Verne Restaurant in Vaci street (the interior of Verne Restaurant looks like the Nautilus submarine), Vagon Restaurant by Deli Train Station (Vermezo street, District I), or elegantly dining on a nostalgic train of the Hungarian Train Company (MAV)”
Our research for this Steampunk World Tour seems to bear that out, in spades! And how could it not be so? The country’s rich Fin de Siecle architecture and broody countryside simply drip with Steampunk inspiration. Take a look at these great images and see if you don’t agree with the assertion that Hungarian Steampunk truly is lively and growing. We’ve also added a link to a Steampunk bar in Budapest. The site’s not in English but the images are stunning. And be sure to check out the video on the Steampunk hair show in Budapest.
A Hungarian Tram/train station. The country is saturated with atmosphere like this.
Even modern buildings exude a steampunk charm. This is the front of a bookstore in Budapest. Can you hear the organ music too??
Members of Steampunk Hungary in their gear. Check out their website. The link is below.
Another group shot from Steampunk Hungary. Love the sepia tone and location.
Look at this gorgeous fashion shoot picture! Such wonderful detail!!
There is a true flair to these Hungarian Steampunkers costumes. While less understated than the previous image, they are still quite elegant in their own way.
A closer look at this Hungarian Steampunk lass’s costume. Love the goggles and locks. But, what’s up with the frying pan do you suppose?
One last look at costumes before we move on to other topics. But what a finale!
Captain Hungary. National pride, Marvel Comics and Steampunk collide.
This was billed as a Steampunk poster but it looks more like a billboard to us! Would love to have it in our library.
The interior of the Jules Verne restaurant in Budapest. I want to go there!
This is also inside the Jules Verne Restaurant. A Steampunk Tardis perhaps? Whatever it is, I want to explore inside it, don’t you?
Italian Steampunk is rich in both heritage and innovation. We really enjoyed the echoes of classic design and some of the more famous trends in the post WW II Italian arts. One innovation that we found while searching for Italian Steampunk is the profusion of short films. We’ve seen music videos and such before but these appear to be quite unique. They are truly short films featuring folks from Steampunk Italia and other groups. We’ve included two for your perusal. Enjoy the rich, wonderful world of Italian Steampunk. We did.
Steampunk placard – Italian style.
A DIY guide on how to design Steampunk clothing, gear, and more. This appears to be a regular publication but we liked this cover the best of the ones we found.
This striking scene somehow echoes Fellini to me.
A member of the Steampunk group ilbuonvecchiofranz. No matter where you go in the world, steampunk women are always capable of taking care of themselves, aren’t they?
A group of Steampunk Italia members. The woman in the middle of the middle row is Time Mistress, the vice president of the organization.
It must be wonderful to be a Steampunk enthusiast in a place that drips with atmosphere.
Applying patinas and working in period colors seems to be quite popular among Italian Steampunkers.
Here’s another wonderful example of photo aging. It really looks like one of those old family snaps from way back when.
Sepia tone this time. Despite the proximity of the werewolf, the lady does not seem distressed.
Here’s another fine ‘aged’ photo. One can almost imagine Garibaldi leading them. There’s enough fire and spirit depicted here.
This is one of the most original Steampunk costumes we’ve found on our world tour. Understated yet distinctive. We wonder if the camera actually works?
There’s just something compelling about this chap, isn’t there? We think it’s the eyes.
We want to leave our tour of Italy with a couple of examples of Steampunk design that’s made its way into more mainstream items. Here, the interior of a motorcar. Wow!
We’ve seen this amazingly worked Vespa a lot but this detail short is still very impressive.
Well, not quite the Middle East. Given the tensions and strife in the region, it’s not hard to understand why there is so little indigenous material to be found. The only thing Steampunk our research turned up actually from the region was a August 2013 reimagining of Richard III by Theater in the Rough. We’ve included a couple of pictures from that production.
However, the romantic vision of the Middle East and its people has provided a wealth of Steampunk creativity for enthusiasts in other parts of the world. We have not made any attempt to identify where these wonderful costumes originated. Rather we’ve chosen to simply offer them to you as the inspired works that they are. Romantic, at times cliché, but never the less, unrepentantly Steampunk.
Richard III from Theater in the Rough August 2013
More of the cast of Richard III in costume.
Can you imagine how long it must have taken to render this beautiful costume?
This female archer appears to be able to take care of herself.
Costume and creative background combine to make this wonderful picture. Couldn’t leave it out! Surely, you can see why.
No elaborate background here but we love this costume.
A Steampunk pasha and his lady.
A blue djinn, Steampunk style.
Another richly costumed couple. We love the color and drapery.
Speaking of richness and drapery; check out the work on this skirt. Amazing!
A dark assassin Steampunked but preserving the flavor of the region which gave us the term.
One final Ḥashshāshīn to finish our Middle East inspired visit.
Given that India began its long road to independence during the Victorian era, it is not surprising that there is very little indigenous enthusiasm for steampunk. However, among the diaspora, it appears that there is a vibrant and growing steampunk culture. The apparent diva of Indian steampunk is Suna Dasi. We urge you to check out her Facebook page and watch the short video she has posted. She discusses the wonder and positive nature of using steampunk as a vehicle for bringing India back into the picture. An India of invention; of energy; of wondrous diversity. Through steampunk, she and her companions are seeking to infuse the Raj with a more balanced and egalitarian alternate history.
If you want to explore how India might have become the soul of the British Empire, we strongly urge you to read SM Sterling’s Peshawar Lancers. Simply one of the best steampunk, alternate history, romantic adventure stories out there.
In addition to the SteampunkIndia Facebook site, we encourage you to check out: steampunkindia.com’s gallery
Suni Dasi’s comments on STEAMED Multiculturalism for Steam Polyvore has some excellent ideas for creating Indian steampunk costumes. Check them out.
With that said, here are a selection of Indian themed images, some from the above sites, others from diverse sources. Let’s all hope that we see more and more innovative steampunk ideas built around that land of mystery and spice.
How cool is this? A jamavar pattered VW!
Sari meets steampunk goggles in this fetching outfit. Imagine the possibilities in such a rich and diverse culture.
Evocative of an old tintype photo, here is a beautiful example of stempunk augmented traditional dress.
An illustration which again reminds us that Indian steampunk women like their sisters elsewhere in the world are perfectly able to take care of themselves.
Of course we love this illustration, not only for the airship but for the contrasting image of the elephant in the foreground. Wouldn’t it be cool if it were augmented or even mechanical?
We love the excellent equipment carried by these steampunk women (as well as the almost monochrome nature of the image.)
Accenting the wealth of scientific innovation coming out of India today we see how the current and the alternative can be so easily fused.
Polyvore’s imaginative blend of steampunk and traditional showing how components of both types of dress can be fused.
We couldn’t leave our look at Indian steampunk without including this classic image. Absolutely wonderful, isn’t it?