For its third participation at the International Architecture Exhibition, Hong Kong presented different projects that involved not only architects, but also artists, designers and planners.
Entitled “Quotidian Architectures”, the exhibition at the Hong Kong Pavilion mainly focuses on the theme of architecture applied to daily life and in fields such as clothing, food, dwelling and transport and explores how what
we wear and eat, where we live or how we travel have an impact
on our environment and on the well being of our cities.
Kong is a complex city with extreme urban forms and solutions and the
projects presented at this Biennale are examples of how design can be employed to engage
in all aspects of daily life.
Each project presented was created by architects together with professionals from a different field, to show where the potential and necessity of collaborative design can take people.
People who are into architecture may find these videos interesting (sorry for shaky images and other assorted distractions like people’s elbows, photographers and waiters getting in the frame, but the place was extremely packed – note: these are 5-minute previews of longer videos, so you will have to install Veoh Video Compass to watch the full video in your browser or download it to your PC).
The main aim of this project is creating a sort of arts and cultural centre in Hong Kong located on a 40-hectare harbour front site.
Each project by a different architectural team explores the potential of this new area in creating a unique space for residents and visitors where they will be able to work, meet, relax and engage in dialogues with the space surrounding them.
The emphasis in all these three projects is on green areas, cultural places and spaces that can create energy and offer the community a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere.
As a whole all the projects presented in the Hong Kong Pavilion looked rather interesting: visually speaking the set of photographs by Michael Wolf created in collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Authority and entitled “Harmony in Dense City” are really inspiring and perfectly tackle the theme of urban density. The images mainly explore the spatial and cultural implications of the landscapes created by high-rises in a city in which there is an average density of over 6,300 people per square kilometre.
Architect William Lim and filmmaker Philip Yung explored instead the possibilities offered by the “elastic” streets of Hong Kong, places where food stalls, trams and pedestrians share the same spaces everyday and streets are literally “folded” every night to be “unfolded” the next morning.
Teaming up with Clean Air Network, architects Adam Frampton, Jonathan Solomon and Clara Wong designed the "Thermallmeter", a mapping of the pedestrian spaces of Hong Kong’s integrated transportation and shopping mall networks, raising in this way awareness about air quality and thermal comfort.
Focusing on food, Urban Rethink Tank and artist Craig Au Yeung planned the “Open Rice Box”, a box module inspired by the ubiquitous food container that, made in weather-resistant Chiptec boards, can be opened, flipped and closed to create reconfiguring seats, tables, worktops and stalls.
The projects inspired by clothing are rather different one from the other since the first is rather conceptual, while the second is more practical.
Consisting in a group of four fibreglass and concrete prototypes, “CLAD” - the project presented by architects David Erdman and Clover Lee in collaboration with Los Angeles-based artist C.E.B. Reas - moves from the qipao seen as the quintessential garment of 1950s Hong Kong and from its precise silhouette, tension and tautness, translating them into architectural forms and employing them to explore innovative sustainable processes for prefabricated components.
The second project that links architecture and fashion was created by Hong Kong practice Map Office in collaboration with Shenzhen-based environmentally conscious textile and garment producer Sun Hing Industries, a recipient of the Hang Seng Pearl River Delta Environmental Award.
The project is entitled "Underwear: Les dessous de la Biennale" and consists in a pair of pants made in an innovative, environmentally friendly, sustainable, low impact and very soft and comfortable fabric.
Sun Hing Industries is indeed a leading fabric mill and supports water conservation by reusing and purifying the water from the Maozhao River to produce its fabrics.
Map Office designed a blue, white and red pattern inspired by the movements of the water and the importance of water in our eco-system.
The panties remind the wearer of the social and environmental impacts of the manufacturing process for clothing and also feature "One Water - No Borders" slogans and tiny Venetian winged lions, symbol of Venice and reminiscent of the red Biennale logo.
The underwear collection was also created as a parody and a critique of advertising strategies: the knickers were indeed distributed for free among the participants, some of whom realised only later on that the carefully folded piece of fabric they had been given wasn't a scarf or a handkerchief but an intimate garment.
I never thought I could have boasted of wearing architecture-inspired panties as a social and environmental critique, but I guess this is just a good example of the results that well- thought collaborative projects launched by professionals from different fields can provide us with.
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