Installation “HE” in Shanghai, China by TurtleHill

The rhythm of calligraphy.

Project Specs


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The installation “HE”located at the atrium of the show space of HUB, Shanghai. It was created as a part of the exhibition, China on Brush Tip/ Finger Tip, to carry forward the traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy art. A three-dimensional installation and accompanying video tried to convey the essence of calligraphy to audience in a brand new way.

Collaborating with the master calligrapher Dong ling Wang and inspired by his work, the designer devised a design language to interpret paper-based artwork into poetic space that correlated with human body.

▼装置一览,overall view of the installation


How to present the rhythm of calligraphy in space? A kung-fu fiction passed through the designer’s mind. The hero of the story had a unique way to decodethe scriptof holymartial arts:Unlike theothers, when he looked at the characters, he saw drawings indicating how the sword swings but not wordsdescribing. Similarly, we could enjoy the beauty of calligraphy by focusing on the movement of brush, not what the characters literally mean.

▼用空间语言呈现书法之美,present the rhythm of calligraphy in space


With this thought, designer decided to trace the calligraphy artwork into the movement of brush tip, a primitivecurve. Then, curvature, as one of the most important information of the curve, was extracted and visualized. To response to the concept of exhibition “unity of heaven and men”, the installation design started from the Chinese character “HE” meant unity. The trajectory of brush was extruded according to its curvature and informed the shape of massing. Surrounding by rolling hills-like installation, people would be overwhelmed by the beauty of calligraphy art.

▼在电脑里生成“合”的曲率分析图,analyze the curvature of “HE” and generate the massing in computer


Limited by project conditions such as site scale, budget and construction period, PC sunlight plate was chosen as the major material. Every two panels were connected by short steel bars in “A” shape, achieving structural strength to stand on the ground independently.Then, the installation was assembled in sets. The shape of plates were computerized by parametric softwareand cut precisely with numerical control machine tool. Each of them had a unique index number. To simplify the construction process and let workers understand easily, the designer produced indicative illustrations to guide the installation rather than standard construction drawings.

▼装置由阳光板拼合而成,the installation is composed of PC sunlight plate


Different composing method of semitransparent plates affected their transparency under the light. The variety reminded people of the 5 classic ink colours applied in calligraphy art. At the same time, the whole design process were recorded as a video and projected in the middle of the installation. It included the very beginning of writing down “HE” and the analysis of its curvature. The implement of interactive video enriched the space.

▼使用投影让空间更加丰富,use projection to enrich the space



Installation Name: HE
Exhibition Name: China on Brush Tip/ Finger Tip
Installation Dimensions: Length 20m/Width 13m/Height 5.5m
Location: The HUB, Shanghai
Exhibition Duration: 11/11/2016-15/01/2017
Supporter: Guangzhou Hanjue Cultural Communication Co. Ltd.
Installation Designer: Jason Guo
Calligrapher: Dongling Wang

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