design society inaugurates MVRDV-designed gallery ahead of shenzhen biennial

design society inaugurates MVRDV-designed gallery ahead of shenzhen biennial

MVRDV has designed the exhibition for the main gallery of the design society — a dedicated cultural design hub located in shenzhen, china. in response to the prescribed theme, ‘minding the digital’, the dutch architecture firm has developed a labyrinth, which spreads over two floors. the interior scheme individualizes and differentiates the display environments for designs and designers, while at the same time creating a synergy that offers different perspectives and experiences. the exhibit, and the new institution, opened on december 2, 2017, in advance of the bi-city biennale of urbanism \ architecture.

MVRDV design society
the first floor offers a panoramic view of current making cultures that cross different disciplines
image © zhang chao



the first floor offers a panoramic view of current making cultures that span different disciplines. here, visitors are able to experience a labyrinth of ideas informing the digital era of the products on display by navigating a maze of interconnected exhibition rooms. ‘this allows for microdisplays or an exhibition-within-an-exhibition with distinct color coded rooms that emphasize and enhance objects on view,’ explains MVRDV.

MVRDV design society
visitors are able to experience a labyrinth of ideas informing the digital era of the products on display
image © zhang chao



on the second floor, visitors engage in a wider range of activities including participatory workshops and talks. above the individualized display spaces below, stairs lead to an upper level with a glass floor showing off the makers, products, and designers below. it becomes akin to a dance floor where visitors can experience walking over the various (hi)stories. here, the visitor can interact with what goes on below as well as encountering a space for future products.

MVRDV design society
the spatial design responds to the theme ‘minding the digital’
image © zhang chao



‘minding the digital’ considers the myriad forms of digital creativities critical to china’s shift from a historic manufacturing center to its current reinvention as an innovative hub. ‘we have created here a labyrinth, a mini-village for all the digital artists with each room adaptive to the art, ideas and products,’ says winy maas, MVRDV co-founder. ‘both levels form a plinth with a series of openings and glass floors on top that creates an overview of this explorative parameterized world showing histories, as well as futures in a beautiful space illuminated from below.’


MVRDV collaborated with amsterdam-based graphic designers thonik who conceived the visual identity of the exhibition. ‘minding the digital’ is open through june 3, 2018.

MVRDV design society
thonik, an amsterdam-based design collective, created the visual identity for the spaces
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
visitors can navigate a maze of interconnected exhibition rooms
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
color-coded rooms emphasize and enhance the objects on view
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
the display is one of the three inaugural exhibits at design society
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
a wide range of products and projects are presented
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
image © MVRDV

MVRDV design society
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
an installation outside the exhibition complex
image © zhang chao

MVRDV design society
details featuring some of the exhibited works
image © zhang chao



project info:


location: design society, shekou, shenzhen, china
program: 1,500 sqm spatial exhibition design
design MVRDV: winy maas, jacob van rijs and nathalie de vries
design team: winy maas, wenchian shi, marta pozo, with bart milon, gustavo van staveren, cai zheli, matiss groskaufmanis, guang ruey tan, sen yang, jan szymankiewicz, jose sanmartin and wenzhao jia
project coordinator: jammy zhu


design society
director: ole bouman
program director: rong zhao
exhibition curator: carrie chan
exhibition manager: xiaonan li
assistant curator: siyun tang, xiaoyu zhang
exhibition assistant: yunjing huang, chenchen zhou
learning and event manager: haibing shen
event assistant: qiuyi ye
learning assistant: xuan pan
head of communication: ling gu
membership manager: shu zhang
designer: sheng cheng
branding officer: sichao wu
exhibition construction: kastone
co-architect: design republic engineering
graphic design: thonik
photography: zhang chao


about the UABB

designboom is main international media partner of the UABB, the seventh bi-city biennale of urbanism\architecture in shenzhen.

UABB is the only exhibition in the world to explore issues of urbanization, and this year’s edition of is jointly curated by hou hanrou (artistic directore of the MAXXI in rome) and founding partners of architecture studio URBANUS, liu xiaodu and meng yan. under the theme of ‘cities, grow in difference’, three sections are presented:
the two sections of urbanism, namely  – ‘global south’ (liu xiaodu) and – ‘urban village’ (meng yan) are co-curated by zhu ye,
the – ‘art making city’ section (hou hanrou) is co-curated by yang yong.

urban villages and globally distinctive alternative practices are in juxtaposition with the interaction between the urban, architecture, art and culture for research and discussion and UABB’s highlights are the site-specificic installations.
different from other biennales in the world, as a site, the UABB is witness to the most drastic urbanization of the 20th and 21st centuries. as the outcome of collision and fusion between rapid urbanization and the urban-rural dual structure in the planned economic period, urban villages have been preserved as a highly potent urban laboratory and base for breeding alternative lifestyles, where newcomers start to settle in the city. the curatorial team wants to redefine the experience for visitors, in view of the special environment of the urban village — a more diversified, open-minded understanding and imagination on urban living and evolutionary patterns, thus to critically think about the value of urban life.

UABB’s main venue is nantou old town, shenzhen, china, with sub-venues set up in other urban villages around shenzhen.
december 15, 2017 – march 15, 2018

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