“Handshake” emoji, China by Leaping Creative

Art arouses the urban village.

Project Specs

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“Handshake” emoji in urban villages

成片密集的楼宇是城中村的典型建筑形态,因楼间距离过近而被戏称为“握手楼”,但这似乎和都市中日益疏远的人际关系形成了反差。设计师以此为概念来源,并引入了像素化emoji元素,让一系列手势装置在巷子间穿插出现。其中既能看到儿时记忆中的翻手绳游戏,又有如今流行的手势语言;并希望以此来唤醒街区活力,营造艺术氛围 。

Densely distributed buildings give rise to a typical architectural form in urban villages. They are nicknamed “handshake buildings” thanks to the narrow passages between one another, which, however, seems to contrast with the increasing social alienation in cities. Aspired by this concept, and through introducing pixelated emoji elements, designers have woken hand gesture-based installations into these passages. Among them are string games extracted from childhood memories and gesture languages popular nowadays. They are expected to wake the vitality and create an artistic atmosphere in neighborhoods.

▼像素手势装置,gesture-based installations ©Leaping Creative


Project background



As a unique product generated in the fast urbanization process, urban villages appear to be isolated from the booming cities so close to them whether in resources, infrastructures or population.

Our visit to the site reveals that passages between handshake buildings are long and dim. Walking on them, one can see anti-theft safety nets, clothes hanging rods and AC outdoor units woven overhead. Complicatedly arranged cables, distribution boxes and pipes are another element that cannot be neglected in the renovation. Our design objective is to minimize the use of already-small ground space, to leave existing facilities uninterrupted, and in particular, to avoid any intentional impact on the living habits of residents.

▼握手楼之间加入装置,installations in between the handshake buildings ©Leaping Creative


Despite of its differences from cities, an urban village behaves like a micro-sized city. Here are landlords and tenants, the old and the young, and blue collars and white collars from a broad range of sectors. In view of this, we hope to find a way that is common and understandable for the entire population and therefore makes interactions with all residents possible.

▼装置细部,closer view to the installations ©Leaping Creative


Talk with residents by “optimistic design”


This series of installations is designed to be a flavoring for the suppressing and tense relations in urban villages, and could, in a sense, act as a mental comfort for residents.

——郑铮,立品设计创始人、设计总监,,Zheng Zheng, Founder and Design Director of Leaping Creative


For the “hand gestures” associated with “handshake buildings”, we find connections in gestures such as “rock-paper-scissors”, “666”, “like” and “heart” popular on and beyond the Internet. In this way, we hope to shorten the distance between our design and the targeted audience, and smartly communicate the project to attract more attention from beyond Yutian community.

▼设计概念,design concept ©Leaping Creative


Diffraction gratings are used in some light boxes to present the frame animations of, for example, “clap hands” and “fist bump”. This simple material creates a natural affinity due to its use in stationery supplies in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, inspired from the “string game”, we have connected gestures along two sides of major passages with yellow light guides, and added socks being dried under the sun and birds taking a rest to vividly depict the real life.

▼黄色导光条上设置袜子、小鸟等形象,socks and birds designed on the yellow light guides ©Leaping Creative

▼光箱中展示逐帧动画,animations on the light boxes ©Leaping Creative


Our designs are expected to be understood by people from different backgrounds, just like emoji. The overall pixelated visual style has developed an atmosphere felt in vintage video games, creating an AR-like effect. This makes the installations more appealing and also reflects the mosaic texture common in structures in urban villages.

▼装置为居民的生活增添乐趣,the installation invigorate the environment ©Leaping Creative

项目名称:城事设计节|美好玉田 “握手”装置
设计团队:leaping creative 立品设计

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