Countless Cities – Beijing, Suzhou, Shenzen Pavilion

The Chinese Design Weeks have developed as big public events of urban innovation, far from the concept of design linked to “products” or “services”, but a ground for experimentation of every form of design. The first room of the exhibition shows the results of these investigations in three symbolic cities where innovation is produced and where the future of design is redesigning millions of people’s lives. In the second room, the redevelopment process of the Beijing Dashilar district, located southwest of Tian’anmen Square, is explored in depth. Started in 2011, it is characterized by a bottom-up planning process.

The project is based on reflections on the relationship with the natural world and the slowdown in life that comes with it. The architecture is located on the roof of the “City on the Sky” building complex, occupying the top floor with other pavilions, creating a flexible space between the artificial and natural dimensions, creating an oasis where people can escape from their hectic lives. The café and restaurant are located along the walkway crossing the entire complex, while the hotel with its rooms and services is built-in height. At the top of the building, the lobby, guest reception, and outdoor areas are arranged in a flexible building with a large garden surrounded by lush nature. In addition, real forest houses suspended wooden modules, equipped as accommodation rooms surrounded by greenery, with spectacular views. A system of wooden bridges and footbridges connects all the functions, creating unexpected paths, immersed in greenery above a breathtaking skyline.

Chinese Design Weeks have developed as major public events of urban experimentation, far from the concept of design linked to “products” or “services”, but field of experimentation for all forms of project. The first room of the exhibition will tell the results of these experiments in three symbolic cities, where innovation is produced and where the future of design is redesigning lives of millions of people. The second room explores the redevelopment process of the Beijing district of Dashilar, located south-west of Tian’anmen Square, which began in 2011 and is characterized by bottom-up planning type.

The exhibition explores the relationship between cities and their landscape systems linked to water: today we need a new architecture capable of recovering urban qualities starting from the relationship between cities and their water. The metaphor of “posture”, of how the body reacts to its surroundings, is placed in different environmental contexts. The exhibition combines the postures of the “men of water” (such as the gondolier of the Venetian boat or Suzhou) with contemporary reflections and projects on the relationship between space, people and water. The exhibition, through symbolic objects and metaphors, helps viewers to understand how urban environments, in dialogue with water, are the most important resource for a sustainable and good quality future development. In China we play along the blue infrastructure of the Grand Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which dates back over 2000 years of history: 1700 kilometers of canals connecting the most important cities of China. Today, as in the past, the link between Venice and China passes through water.

In the prestigious location of Errotaja, in the centre of Helsinki, one of the main installations consisted of a survey of the most important transformations, people, communities and projects of Design in Beijing. The exhibition “Beijing: a harmonious and livable city of culture”, co-curated by Michele Brunello, Wenyi Wu, Tao Haiying, was set up by Dontstop Architettura and divided into five rooms: “City” tells the story of Beijing’s transformations up to 2030, “People” tells the story of the young protagonists of design and culture, “Community” describes the complex operations of urban regeneration and community building in the Hutongs, “Objects” shows the objects and arts&craft connected to the great monuments of the capital and finally “Rituals” tells the rituals and practices related to the Chinese calendar and the Moon Party, celebrated during the exhibition period.

“Across Chinese Cities – The Community”, promoted by Beijing Desing Week in partnership with Souzhou Municipal Government explores approches to planning linked to the development of “communities” as mechanisms that create new system of social, economic and spatial belonging.

The project offers unprecedented look at over 20 cases studies that drawn upon the “emancipating potentialities of commoning” through integrated design strategies which embody new notions of collective identity and thus novel interrelated norms of co-dependence, participation and inclusivity.

In the central location of Beijing Design Week, the Agricultural Exposition Center in Sanlitun, the room dedicated to special projects hosted an installation by Dontstop Architettura on the theme launched by XPORT and Across Chinese Cities for the next Architecture Biennale: Waterscapes and Urban Design along the Chinese Grand Canal. A summary of the projects of the last 6 years and a mapping of the 36 cities overlooking the Grand Canal told visitors about the urban, social, landscape and environmental implications of the new interventions on the world’s largest and oldest blue infrastructure. The installation was accompanied by a seminar attended by professionals and major Chinese institutions dealing with the subject.

The project answers the question “How can design improve the urban environment, the city and our life?”

Red Star Design Park defines a new model for a new lifestyle based on design 4.0, which contains principles of sharing and circular economy and good design practices. The overlapping masterplan: A structure composed of public functions gathered in flexible pavilions, the grouping of a community with different lifestyles that benefits from innovative community services, the design of a large green park.

Across Chinese Cities – House Vision, Collateral Event of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, is described in the Reporting from the front Catalog.

Special edition of the T + A Magazine entitled “Expo as Eco-driver from Shanghai to Milan”.

Architect Michele Brunello contributed with the article “Expolis, A Space-time Journey in Expo Past, Present and Future Milestones.

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