100% Design Shanghai 2008: The bamboo garden
by sabine7 / June 30, 2008

Jen Renzi reports from 100% Design Shanghai, here's her second trip diary entry from China.

11:00 AM
The bamboo garden

Inspired by the building's lofty proportions, Aric and Tobi envisioned a stunning installation to lure visitors through the entry hall and into the main show floor. They filled the cavernous space with a grid of bamboo scaffolding--a ubiquitous feature here in Shanghai, where a new building seemingly sprouts from every corner. "Bamboo is an ancient material, but it's also come to represent new China, too--a symbol of rapid growth," explains Aric. The idea was to invert its use; rather than clad a building exterior, scaffolding is used here to fill a void. "It's very Rachel Whiteread," notes Tobi. It's an architectural intervention and a symbolic invitation, too: "a space we're building to house emerging Chinese design," say the duo. Looks like it's already arrived. WOK Media, based in London and Shanghai, hung a series of its creepy-cool eyeballs to keep watch over the front door. Very Big Brother.

Above: Night Watch, by Julie Mathias and Wolfgang Kaeppner of WOKmedia. First shown in London's Jubilee Park last winter, the crystal orbs are reverse painted--an ancient Chinese art--and illuminated by automotive lights. The installation was organized by Contrasts Gallery, which first invited WOKmedia to Shanghai two years ago. "We came for a six-month residency program and never left," Julie explains. (They maintain a production studio here and a design studio in London.) WOKmedia's work will also be shown in New York this fall, part of the opening festivities at the Museum of Arts & Design's new building.

+ 100percentdesign.com.cn

shanghai_bambooentrance.jpg

Tobi and Arik's bamboo installation inverts the notion of scaffolding, using it to fill--rather than sheathe--a building to create an "infrastructure" for emerging Chinese design.

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