2014

Making Futures BJ – Craft and Design


MAKING FUTURES BEIJING

Contemporary Shifts Across Craft and Design

A Pop-UP Forum in Dashilar

September 27 – 28, 2014; 2 – 8 pm


Location: the MFBJ forum was hosted in an installation dubbed the Fly Tower (or Trapped Tower) designed by Benjamin Beller of BaO Architects, Beijing

Curated bv: Malcolm Ferris, founder and curator Making Futures UK (Playmouth College of Art) and Beatrice Leanza (BJDW)

Organizers: Beijing Design Week, Dashilar Platform and Plymouth College of Art, UK

Program Partner: Stellar Works
Supported by: The Danish Agency for Culture, Coletivo Amor de Madre
The digital craft elements in Making Futures Beijing are aligned with ‘Made@EU’, a two-year collaborative project between Plymouth College of Art (UK); the Institut d’ Architectura Avancada de Catalunya(Spain); and the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle (France), and supported by the European Union Creative Europe programme

Making Futures: Beijing is conceived as a response to the Dashilar Craft and Design Pilot– the urban plan to promote one of Beijing’s oldest hutong districts as a creative craft and design zone. Complementing a series of collaborations between local craftsmen and contemporary designers established by Beijing Design Week, the project aims to bring Chinese and global perspectives into dialogue concerning the ideas and aspirations that underpin the overall Making Futures series. As such, Making Futures: Beijing will bring into focus research pertinent to the Chinese context and platform it as a contribution to international debate. Each day consists of two thematic ‘sessions’ (four across the two days) each of which is structured around a particular theme:

The Return of Craft?

Will extrapolate from current developments to explore whether we are (or in the near future will) experience a reappearance of small-scale production and consumption based on craft enterprises, design-to-make, and micro-manufacture.

Malcolm Ferris/ Think through Making                
Chiwing Lo/design director, Kanjian Creations: The Wisdom of Traditional Chinese Crafts      
Catherine McMahon (Atlas Studio) /researcher and DSL Craft Pilots series participant: Lightworks              
Jacob Dreyer/researcher, writer: 100 Year Brands               
[Stellar Works/MF BJ program partner]: The Possibility of Evolving 

Material Worlds

Will explore how craftspeople and designer-makers are proactively exploring socially and sustainably engaged projects through re-cycling, renovation and refurbishing and, increasingly, through closed-loop approaches associated with cradle-to-cradle design and make strategies.

Paul Mickelthwaite /course director, MA Sustainable Design –  Kingston University: Make Unmake Remake  – Sustainability and Design          
Pil Bredahl/curator the Danish Craft Collection: Sustainability and the Danish Crafts Collection (CC18)  
Instant Hutong (Stefano Avesani/Marcella Campa) /architecture and design studio (Beijing): RE-USE, Participatory Urbanism         
Danful Yang/designer (Shanghai)  : Exploring Chinese Traditions      
Mauricio Arruda/architect and designer (Sao Paolo): Architecture and Design for Sustainability 

Making Place

Will explore whether and how contemporary approaches to craft and small-scale making can avoid ‘Disneyfication’ and make positive and authentic contributions to community identity, heritage and ‘place-making’.

Andrew Brewerton/Principal, Plymouth College of Art: Plymouth School of Creative Arts – A Case Study in Urban Regeneration        
Zhang Lei (Pinwu studio)  /designer (Hangzhou) and DSL Pilots series participant: Handmade in Hangzhou           
Shikai Tseng (Poetic Lab) /designer (Taiwan): About Ripple and Bronze China Projects            
Kim Charnley /researcher, writer: Urban Space as Vernacular process

Craft 2.0.

Will consider advanced technological models of production, including digital print technologies, from craft and designer-maker perspectives, exploring their current and future potential to support artisanal micro fabrication and designer-makers.

Peter Oakley/Research Leader, Royal College of Art UK: The Future of the Digital and the Hand-made    
Elaine YanLing NG/designer (HK) and and DSL Craft Pilots series participant: CLIMATOLOGY and NATUROLOGY   
Zhang Zhoujie/designer (Shanghai): Digital Lab      
Guto Requena/designer (Sao Paolo): The LOVE PROJECT EXPERIENCE          
Justin Wang/founder Makers Carnival (China) and CEO Makers Space, Beijing:The China Makers Movement           
Areti Markopoulou /architect and professor at IaaC – Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalunia (Barcelona): Personal Manufacturing – Perspectives from the Institute of Advance Architecture of Catalonia

 Making Futures: Beijing represents one of the first attempts to gather China-based perceptions regarding the current and future performance of contemporary craft and designer-maker practices and to place these in dialogue with trans-national debate around these issues. It is intended that that the dialogue started in Dashilar will continue into the future, not least by a strong research strand dedicated to Chinese perspectives in the 2015 UK edition of Making Futures.

Making Futures is a Plymouth College of Art (PCA) research platform developed and curated by Malcolm Ferris. The platform consists of a bi-annual international research conference; a series of satellite exhibitions; an on-line journal that reports the proceedings as an Open Access archive, (ISSN 2042-1664); and a range of related staff and post-graduate student projects. The conference series has evolved across its three editions to date (2009, 2011 and 2013), into the foremost international event in its field, with a good reputation across global art, craft and designer-maker communities.

 


THE READER: Across Chinese Cities – Beijing


ACROSS CHINESE CITIES – Beijing [THE READER]


Concept and Editorial Direction :: Beatrice LEANZA
Editorial Assistants :: HAN Chang, ZHAO Ying, Claudia FENG
Copy editing and proofreading :: David Drakeford
Designed by :: LI Xibin and SUN Xiaoyu from D-T-Z-W Design Studio
Published by :: Beijing Design Week, June 2014

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Across Chinese Cities – Beijing, an official collateral event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, THE READER is as complementary research tool inclusive of a rich textual selection from original sources excerpted from existing historical and critical literature, fiction, journalism, blogs and articles, in Chinese and foreign languages. Some of the Chinese texts appearing here have been translated in English for the first time. THE READER is oragnized in 7 thematic chapters referencing  and complementing those articulating the show, namely:

The Outer and Inner City (on Architecture and Urban History)
Cultural Hub
Historic Industries and Commercial Ecology
The People’ Factor and The Real Estate of  Things
The Pre-Olympic Conundrum (A City that was)
Preservation, Friend or Foe?
Communities and The Architecture of Relationships

Contributors included experts and participants to the exhibition:

Michele MATTEINI, Aric CHAN, Laura Trombetta PANIGALDI, Abitare China magazine, Approach Architecture, CAFA – Central Academy of Fine Arts, Matali CRASSETT, CYJO, Instant Hutong, Kenya Hara studio, LAVA design agency, Lumalu, Meta Hutongs, People Architecture Foundation, People’s Architecture Office, reMIX Architecture, SANS Practice, Varvara SHAVROVA, Standardarchitecture, Studio Ramoprimo + MDDM Studio, The DaZhaLan Project (CAO Fei and OU Ning), Jia Yong, MAD Architects, Michael YOUNG, HUA Xinmin, CUI Yong

 


Venice Architecture Biennale 2014


Across Chinese Cities – Beijing

An Official Collateral Event of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Tesa 100, Arsenale Novissimo
June 4 – November 27, 2014

 

Beijing Design Week with the collaboration of Dontstop Architettura presented Across Chinese Cities – Beijingan investigation into the Chinese capital’s spatial transformations and its historical district Dashilar, as a Collateral Event of the 14th  International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The exhibition expounds upon the complex architectural and social transformation of the city, looking at contemporary challenges between globalisation and localism, the processes of continuous adaptation and resilience found therein which remain paradigmatic for many contemporary cities like Beijing.

“Across Chinese Cities – Beijing” responds to the thesis set forth by Rem Koolhaas with “Absorbing Modernity” by looking at Beijing’s mutations in relation to Dashilar’s in two juxtaposed sections: “Across City Sections” and “Across Dashilar”.  Dashilar, a city within the city, an historical and peculiar area situated southwest of Tian’anmen Square, becomes a prism to observe the whole city and the contemporary urban condition. Dashilar’s interwoven fabric of traditional courtyards and alleys (hutongs), the vibrant and dense urban and social ecosystem of crafts, specialized knowledge, infrastructures and historic buildings are taken here as experimental platforms for innovative pilot projects. Characterised by capillarity and porosity, its built forms and social condition offer themselves to a productive retooling and questioning of existing spatial devices: an engine for urban regeneration and reinvention.

“Across City Sections” consists of an installation composed by a map of the city and by a linear timeline of five city sections. Each scaled 1:500 along Beijing’s North-South axis they are temporally posited along five crucial moments: 1488: Foundation of Dashilar, 1914: Construction of experimental Xiang Chang District,1958: Inauguration of Tian’anmen Square,1992: Opening of Henderson Centre, first Shopping Mall, 2014: Beijing today, the global city. From within these spatial and temporal sections, the invariant core of the Forbidden City and the grand transformations of the urban fabric are set in contrast with the small-scale changes in Dashilar, attesting to its adaptive capacity across different historical thresholds.

Juxtaposed to the linear enunciation of “Across City Sections”, “Across Dashilar” draws a circular and explorative path across the socio-cultural dynamics, the economic and political factors which, since its foundation, have shaped Dashilar as a space of productive marginality. Originally founded outside the imperial city’s walls as an ‘outer city’ or external settlement, Dashilar evolved into a spatial dimension of autonomous alterity, where social and behavioural hierarchies were subverted. The historical mesh enveloping Dashilar unfolds into four historical moments (the Mongol Dynasty in the XV century, the Ming and Qing period, the end of the empire and the first Republican period, the foundation of the People’s Republic in 1949 until the economic reforms of the 1990s, the pre Olympic period and the XXI century), while being interpolated with various interdisciplinary projects realised in the last two years by a wide range of studios and creatives as a result of the cooperation established between Beijing Design Week and Dashilar Cutural Investment co Ltd. Part of a regeneration scheme aimed at mending the urban and social fabric of Dashilar by means of a nodal system founded on principles of social design, the selected projects are responsive to Dashilar’s endangered architectural infrastructural and communal ecosystem, so here becoming points of departure for historical and thematic explorations. In this section, architectural archetypes and construction types are presented and complemented by an anthropological journey into the literary and cultural history that made Dashilar the creative and commercial heart of the capital since the Ming Dynasty. Six pilot projects are contextualised within historical scenarios, refraining the effects of key historical and political transitions. The pilots are accompanied by a selection of works on various media ranging from photography, sound art, video, animation and interactive applications to co-design and collaborative projects with local residents and craftsmen.

A dedicated area hosts a  film program ‘Beijing on FIlms – 1980s – 2000s) curated by Meng Xie (director of Public Programs UCCA, Beijing) so further expanding the investigation into related issues and selected topics.

A special Reader is presented as complementary to the exhibition, inclusive of a rich textual selection from original sources excerpted from existing historical and critical literature, fiction, journalism, blogs and articles, and it is edited by Beijing Design Week in collaboration with experts in related fields and the participants to the exhibition. A series of programs and workshops will also be organised in the opening weeks of the biennial.

The exhibition problematizes the assumption of a centripetal modernity which is here supplemented by a vision in which the interactions between an architecture of resilience and relationship are essential and pivotal in the evolution of a polycentric, porous and informal city.

 

Organization:

Beijing Design Week

 Curators:

Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP architecture) and Beatrice Leanza (Beijing Design Week)

Special Installation:

Ma Yansong

In collaboration with:

Dashilar Platform, SANS Practice (Neill Mclean Gaddes, Yijing Xu)

Participants:

For “Across City Sections”:

Dontstop architettura

For “Across Dashilar”:

Abitare China magazine, Approach Architecture, CAFA – Central Academy of Fine Arts, Matali Crasset, CYJO, Instant Hutong, Kenya Hara studio, LAVA design agency, Lumalu, Meta Hutongs, People Architecture Foundation, People’s Architecture Office, reMIX Architecture, SANS practice, Varvara Shavrova, Standardarchitecture, Studio Ramoprimo + MDDM Studio, The DaZhaLan Project (Cao Fei and Ou Ning), Jia Yong, MAD Architects, Michael Young, Hua Xinmin, Cui Yong

 


Making Community ¬ Design/BJ


MAKING COMMUNITY, NOT THE MAP NOR THE TERRITORY 

Beijing ‘Design-in-Progress’

Curated by Beatrice Leanza
Centre for Contempoary Chinese Art – Manchester
April 3 – June 3, 2014
 

 

Making Community showcases a selection of ongoing initiatives rendering a generative grammar of creative engagement with the spatial and social context of the Chinese capital.

This relational archipelago of interdisciplinary design practices is both premise and product of an evolving cultural predicament formulated by the mutually defining changes along the design-and-community nexus in the contemporary urban realm. Radically collaborative and open-ended, they are inherently shaped as metaphorical constructs of ‘speech and duration’ that reflect on the urgency for localized forms of intellectual and practical connectivity to amplify and enable solutions in the contested spaces of the city, for and with its constituencies. The exhibition is therefore not conceived as a static display of finished products, but as an ‘architecture of relationships’ informed by urban research and social agency engaged in the rethinking of existing topographies of knowledge production, and the creation of instruments for its dissemination.

A selection presented for the first time in an international context and originally featured during Beijing Design Week 2013, Making Community offers itself as a dynamic archive and a participatory device to open a conversational space around: design and cultural heritage, architectural preservation and urban revitalization, sustainability, up-cycling and environmental consumption, digital and artisanal fabrication, interactive and social design.The creative outputs range in open-source research platforms for urban innovation, digital and print publications, books, experiential apps, identity and branding, product co-design, documentaries and experimental videos, among others.  Taken here as a case-study, BJDW plays out as a resounding system of creative communities, where territoriality and collectivity are continuous with its molecular formation as co-creation. It aims at forging a force field that can augment and expand professional perspectives into institutional agendas and public debate, to devise the tools and the awareness for ‘process’ to truly be emplaced as productive exchange on the micro-scale. As one of the core projects developing within BJDW urban ecology, the Dashilar Pilot project is here employed as a narrative dispositive of concrete solutions implemented through transcultural and cross-disciplinary interactions. Launched with the BJDW 2013 edition in close cooperation with the Dashilar Culture Investment, a governmental developer, it is an international call for ideas responsive to Dashilar historical area of densely populated alleys (hutongs), its aging infrastructure and endangered architectural and social landscape. An abridged presentation of resulting proposals serves here to contextualize the complexity of ‘transformation’ – a form of collective thinking involving the making of professional and social communities wired to institutional networking – as opposed to the complacency in political agendas of ‘change’. Textual and visual narratives caption each project with information about their initiators and contributors; relevant links to online platforms are provided for audiences to start forming an understanding of a Beijing-bound design landscape and part-take in an ever growing laboratory for innovation and self-engagement.

The exhibition set up and visual design are the work of SANS, a Beijing-based studio made of Neill Gaddes and Yijing Xu, who’s been involved in the development of the Dashilar Project since its inception, and contributed heavily in making the Dashilar Pilot series possible.

Participants and Projects:

Participants names refer to those of initiators, many of these projects are the result of multiple contributions which are credited in the documentation provided on site of the show.

A.M.I. (Appropriate, Mutate, Innovate), Audio Archecology & Concrete Flux (Tom Baxter and Solveig Suess), CYJO, Dashilar Pilot series: [Hutong Toilets (Michael Young), Pop-Up Canopy (Peoples Architecture Office), 2 Yangmeizhu (reMIX studio), Fringe Density (Urbanus), Rabbit Grandpa Zhan (metaLINGO), Modul’Hutong (Matali Crasset), Micro-Hutong (standardarchitecture studio), The Museum of Bicycle Parts (CAFA Visual Communication dpt), Scagnel (Luca Nichetto)], Design For the Real China, Hutopolis (Gianantonio Bongiorno, Eugenia Murialdo, Luis Aguirre Manso), Interactive Beijing (Fei Jun and Lulu Li), LAVA Design Studio, Meta-Hutong (Andy Bryant and Wang Shuo), MovingCities (Bert de Muynck and Mónica Carriço), SANS (Neill Gaddes and Yijing Xu), The Other Place, Wai Architecture Think Tank (Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz Garcia), Sander Wassink.

A selection of publication and books presented within the show will be also available at the CFCCA store: Concrete Flux magazine, LAVA Mobile Design Agency Newspaper, Hutopolis book, Abitare China HUTONG, special summer issue 2013, Pure Hardcore Icons publication.