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.

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.

Spices have been interpreted as elements with heterogeneous and multi-sensory features, able to generate new tactile, visual and perceptual experiences. Therefore the architecture looses its figurative limit and becomes a perceptual and emotional space in constant evolution. A knowledge journey through a sequence of ‘experiential zones’, with tasting points, installations, technological displays and events, revealing, how different cultures cultivate, prepare and use spices in food, medicines and socio-cultural rituals.

Across Chinese Cities – Beijing, Collateral Event of the Venice International Architecture Biennale was awarded by ADI in 2015 in the Communication Design section.

DONTSTOP architettura, together with a group of architects and architects, has set up a work group called Archimacao with the aim of intervening on the Macao building, the new independent center for arts, culture and research in Milan.

In line with the broader vision of Macao, which sees cultural production as a common good, the project was illustrated in a public debate. Archimacao renounces the aesthetic dimension in favor of a programmatic and procedural dimension. An incremental project that aims to put Macao in a position to imagine and realize as many uses as possible of space over time.

Across Chinese Cities – Beijing is an investigation into the Chinese capital’s spatial program woven into its ‘otherly modern’ project which situates its traces by taking the historical district of Dashilar as a case study. The exhibition looks at processes of continuous adaptation from times present and past which remain paradigmatic for many contemporary cities like Beijing. ACC 2014 is a conversation between built forms and communities around an architecture of resilience and relationships unique to the District area.

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