DOUALA How do you play?

The exhibition “How do you play” collected a selection of 12 objects inspired by the theme of the game, developed by the designers of the LABA Academy in Douala, the main urban centre of Cameroon. The exhibition was the final stage of a design training course led by Dontstop Architettura, as part of the “CAMon! Promoting art and culture: capacity building, social enterprise and education in Cameroon”, coordinated by the COE Association and supported by AICS – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, aimed at cultural promotion through the creation of a HUB integrating tradition and technological innovation.

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.

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 Chinese metropolis are the places of development of new urban practices that use Design as a tool for urban regeneration and community building. In this context, the Chinese Design Weeks have developed themselves as big public events of urban experimentation, conceived as a testing ground for all forms of project, a very distant vision from the concept of design linked to the “product” or “services”. The event “A Journey in China Design Weeks” will involve the protagonists of the Chinese Design Weeks network in an innovative and engaging format.

The Xport exhibition addresses the issue of the complex relationship between tradition and innovation in Venice and investigates the relationships between urban space and design in the paradigmatic context of the city. A large conceptual video, divided into four sections, accompanies the viewer through the exhibition, where specularly to each section of the video four thematic areas are developed that host a symbolic object: the forcola, the murano glass, the lace and the mask.

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