alessi : (un)forbidden city
 
alessi : (un)forbidden city alessi : (un)forbidden city
nov 24, 2011

alessi : (un)forbidden city

‘(un)forbidden city’ by officina alessi  image courtesy of alessi

 

 

 

italian design factory alessi asked eight chinese architects to reinterpret one of the most archetypal of their products, the tray, in order to explore the potential of chinese product design. the results were shown in an exhibition curated by gary chang at aether art space in sanlitun for beijing design week 2011 entitled ‘(un)forbidden city’. gary chang was joined by chang yung ho, liu jiakun, ma yansong, urbanus, wang shu, zhang ke, and zhang lei. all eight architects stepped away from their usual large scale architecture projects and undertook industrial design.
the collaboration was not just intended as an exploration of design at different scales, but rather as a bridge between two cultures. although vastly different, both china and italy have art and architecture rooted deep in their values and traditions. the exhibition was a visual manifestation of the combined efforts of both societies.

portraits of the eight architects 
(left to right) gary chang, chang yungho, liu jiakun, ma yansong, urbanus, wang shu, zhang ke, zhang lei
pg. 82-83 of ‘(UN)forbidden city’ catalogue by officina alessi
image © designboom

 

exhibition at aether art space in sanlitun beijing image © designboom

 

 

 

the gallery space was transformed into a mahjong room, filled with 12 tables, eight of which displayed the tray prototypes. each table had four drawers opened to reveal LCD panels displaying detailed information about the products and the show itself. a specially commissioned soundtrack depicting the ambience of a mahjong room played in the background combined with the whispers of the eight design concepts. one table was set aside for a set of 144 mahjong blocks, each depicting one of alessi’s iconic products. the reading room, full of alessi products and publications was painted red to represent the color of the forbidden city.

 

 

mahjong table  image © designboom

 

 

chang yungho and gary chang enjoying a game of mahjong  image © designboom

 

 

‘floating earth’ by ma yansong  image © designboom

 

read designboom’s article for more information about ‘floating earth’ by ma yansong.

‘jane’ by liu jiakun  image © designboom

 

read designboom’s article for more information about ‘jane’ by liu jiakun.

 

 

‘a lotus leaf’ by chang yungho image © designboom

 

images of the lotus leaf
pg. 120-121 of ‘(UN)forbidden city’ catalogue by officina alessi
image © designboom

demonstration of reversible sides 
pg. 126-127 of ‘(UN)forbidden city’ catalogue by officina alessi
image © designboom

‘trick and treat’ by architect and exhibit curator gary chang image © designboom

 

 

detail of ‘trick and treat’  image © designboom

 

 

‘trayscape’ by urbanus image © designboom

 

 

concept image of ‘trayscape’ within a city scape 
pg. 198-199 of ‘(UN)forbidden city’ catalogue by officina alessi
image © designboom

‘clouds root’ by wang shu image © designboom

 

 

diagram illustrating the origin of the shape
pg. 212-213 of ‘(UN)forbidden city’ catalogue by officina alessi
image © designboom

‘ming’ by zhang ke image © designboom

 

 

rendering of ‘ming’ image courtesy of alessi

 

 

‘opposition’ by zhang lei image © designboom

 

 

(from left to right) wang shu, zhang lei, alberto alessi, gary chang, chang yungho, zhang ke, meng yan and wang hui of urbanus image courtesy of alessi

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