”IDEAS in ACTION” in SHANGHAI ART&DESIGN 2016 ¬ TRANS-DESIGN
January 10 – March 15, 2016
West Bund Art Centre, Shanghai
Curator: Beatrice Leanza
Exhibition Design: reMIX Studio
Participants: 2×4 / Alexander Åhnebrink / Alvaro Catalan de Ozon / Anaide Gregory Studio / Atlas Studio / 白塔寺再生计划Baitasi Remade Project / 中央美术学院 -工业设计系Central Academy of Fine Arts – Industrial Design Department / 曹璞Cao Pu / 大木设计事务所DAMU Design / Studio Eva de Laat / From余杭融设计图书馆 & Pinwu 设计工作室From Yuhang – Rong Design Library & Pinwu /郝振瀚Hao Zhenhan / 黄明健Huang Mingjian / Instant Hutong-Studio Ramoprimo / LAVA Design Agency / 樂建筑 Le Architecture / LCD – Laboratory for Creative Design) / OPENDOT / 众建筑People’s Architecture Office / 临界工作室reMIX Studio / Studio S.W.I.N.E. & Andrew Friend / 清华大学 – 工业设计系Tsinghua University – Industrial Design Department / YEAH! Archkids
IDEAS in ACTION is one of four core thematic exhibitions constitutive of the 2016 Shanghai Art&Design biennale, hosted in the 8000 sqm space of the West Bund Art Centre (a reclaimed hangar once used as an airplane repair shop).
Ideas in Action brings together multidisciplinary projects linking conceptual and practical strategies of design enactment that mobilize extant relations of production, inheritance and place into new conformations. The exhibition aims at offering a critical look at forms of integrated thinking found, inspired by or echoing across contemporary scenarios of change in China that span from object-to-city making by way of rerouting connections across the social, cultural and spatial givens of uneven or unattended frameworks of development. While their specificity of investigation is expansive in covering from urban and rural renewal to augmented methodologies of making, engaging craft-thinking and-digital knowledge or grassroots intelligence, a common denominator of positive value-making, co-actualization and a light-weight awareness of ethical like-mindedness, drives their action. The implicit premise to this assembly of positions is the recognition that design performs today as a ‘meta-project’ across disciplinary and systemic structures of both intangible and material nature, which must labour at the interplay of processes grounded in practical know-hows as much as empower culturally dispositional faculties of locational character. What draws shared significance to these projects is their dynamic positioning within generative networks of co-doing and combining of knowledge, their detouring within the remedial scale of actions that can rekindle broken or obsolete relations of production, inheritance and place into novel processes of mutuality and co-dependency. These practices advocate for design actions that are generated by a situationally shaped resourcefulness of humanistic and social engagement, while remaining committed to exploring the ideas and the technical boundaries that move the discipline towards new horizons.
The featured projects have been selected according to four analytical categories that portray distinct yet interwoven scales of operation. The categories are: Infrastructural Matrix, Growth Protocols, Infill, and Materiality & Objecthood. Although categorized according to these four subchapters, the selected projects are not so presented in site of the show, as the spatial narrative instead highlights their interconnections, as if extensions of a growing organism, laid along a ‘dynamic masterplan’ realized by Beijing-based reMIX Studio.
The works here featured here unpack the workings of systems of development traversing various spatial and material registers – from urban and domestic, to places and forms of production (from studio to factory; from digital prototyping to artisanal remake), and the communities that inhabit them, thus eliciting how designers are finding new ways of constitutive interaction against shrinking economies, socially divided contexts and degrading or disappearing cultural heritages.
These include: urban spaces, domestic spaces, spaces of production (from studio to factory), social spaces and communities, systems of production (from digital prototyping to artisanal remake).
As a dive into the first chapter, this section looks at specific projects that infiltrate orders of production (urban, industrial, social, architectural, etc.) by giving shape to novel solutions or simply poetic expressions emerging from within. These projects unveil what is unattended, invisible or underutilized by way of creative gestures turning those into new productive potential. Borrowed from architectural parlance, a strategic ‘infill’ is side-track thinking, it is a compounded approach that generates scalability out of extreme specificity.
These include: architectural projects, visual and graphic design, social design, industrial design.
This features programs that operate more specifically across the post-demographic scape of increasingly segmented user-and-consumer groups, devising new tools and systems to bring positive change to critical contexts, endangered or discarded constituencies.
These include: social design, digital and interaction design, product design.
MATERIALITY & OBJECTHOOD
The designers and creators selected for this section are more prominently working across material divides at the crossroads of new systems of ‘making’, rethinking traditional and artisanal forms and methodologies with the aid of contemporary technologies and skilling emerging as a result of changing systems of fabrication, distribution and ever more flexible and customizable possibilities of creation. Changing notion of aesthetic and material orders surface as a result.
Launched with a pilot effort in 2009, Beijing Design Week (BJDW) is co-hosted by the Beijing Municipal Government, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Science and Technology, to nurture a culture of design in the Chinese context. With seven key sections – Design Service, Design Award, Design Night, Design Trade, Guest City, Smart City, and Design HOP – BJDW features hundreds of international exhibitions, public events and trading platforms as the leading design event in the PRC. While offering an expansive overview of China’s transforming design landscape, it serves as a laboratory for innovative perspectives that, from industry to academia, inspire and shape contemporary design discourse and practice.
Beatrice Leanza has acted as creative director and chief curator of the event from the 2013 edition. She left her position with 2016 and remains involved with BJDW as Head of its Overseas Program and intl communication.
”In its youthful four years it has grown into a city-wide showcase of hundreds of events covering 7 urban districts, totalling 362 projects with designers and organizations from over 30 countries in 2014. Taking up the creative direction of the event from 2012 offered both the thrill and challenge of shaping a positioning of relevance across the local and international design landscape. BJDW has ever since operated by establishing long-term cooperative frameworks with various stakeholders in the city’s development from governmental planners and educational institutions to companies and individual makers, offering a dialogical and physical arena for design solutions to be tested. A noted example, started in 2013, is the Pilot Program developed in collaboration with the historic district of Dashilar, which has contributed heavily in raising public and officials’ awareness to the contentious issues of urban renewal and preservation.
BJDW’s innervation in the built and social fabric of the city embodies an active engagement in nurturing while questioning the role and impact of design for the 21st century global city. Every year this contextual dialogue is rendered via thematic-driven explorations and calls for projects devised to test the boundaries of design knowledge within selected zones of the capital. This unique outlook has rendered BJDW a reference platform, investigating the widening economic and cultural implications of what ‘designing for China’ means today and tomorrow.
Various features have appeared on international media outlets over the past two years, including The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Figaro, Liberation/NEXT, Dezeen, Wallpaper, Core77, Metropolis, IDEAT, Surface Asia, T Magazine, Domus, Abitare, Disegno, The Good Life, Elle Décor Italy, among many others.”
For more information please use the contact page or see links on bjdw.org
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)
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
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 – Beijing” an 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.
Beijing Design Week
Michele Brunello (DONTSTOP architecture) and Beatrice Leanza (Beijing Design Week)
In collaboration with:
Dashilar Platform, SANS Practice (Neill Mclean Gaddes, Yijing Xu)
For “Across City Sections”:
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