Yutian Urban Village
Sculptural benches in Yutian ©刘松恺
The beginning of the whole story is the project of community-building in Yutian urban village in Shenzhen, which started around the end of 2018. We designed five adorable animal-like benches consisting of legs and torso using steel pipes with a diameter of 33 cm, and they were named “Hide-and-Seek” and placed in several spots in Yutian urban village. They made city walks fun.
These benches have soft curves and their torso is stubby, which makes people want to hug them and straddle them. Two colors of green are used to give a feeling of life, and their combination is devised so that the unique shape of the benches can be expressed well. They are designed with a high degree of abstraction in the shape and the color, so they appear as something you don’t exactly comprehend, and ask you to have free and creative mind to interpret them. The scenes of people using the benches look like a improvisational street dance performance, which gives the viewers an enjoyable moment.
Having the concept of community-building, these benches are not designed only for sitting and resting, but designed as communication space. It is envisioned that users will expand their sight and share this humorous design with others.
Video, improvisational street performance ©一十一建筑
Sculptural bench as a communication space ©刘松恺
This is a low budget project. The material is ready-made parts of steel water pipes, and the benches are assembled by only cutting and welding, without the complicated process of bending. Moreover, the urban village is usually packed with building blocks and full of maze-like narrow alleys not allowing vehicles to enter the site. Because it is difficult to work on site, all the benches were assembled in a factory outside, and they were transported to the site by workers carrying them on their shoulders.
Manufacturing process of the furniture©一十一建筑
Video, the birth of the sculptural benches ©一十一建筑
Wildness in Urban Environment
Unlike functional benches we see everywhere, the meaning of these sculptural benches is not developed. They allow people to have their own interpretation and use freely. We describe this condition with the word of “wild” as an antonym of functional and rational. We are fascinated by the sense of liberation that this “wildness” brings out in urban environment. It is similar to the urge that people living in the city sometimes want to go for a picnic or camping.
We made a model exploring the space with the feeling of “wild” or “life”. In this model, we have five sculptural benches, flower beds with dynamic shape, and plants looking wild. Furthermore, we proposed a sculptural wall, a large dog-like wall that creates an experience of passing under the belly and between the legs. It is those experiences that we imagined in story books from our childhood.
The model of sculptural benches ©一十一建筑
Xinsha Primary School
Xinsha Primary School which we involved in the campus design has more than 30 sculptural benches placed all around the campus waiting for students to find and play with them. The design of these benches has two characteristics: (1) it is a place for communication, and (2) students use them freely with their creative mind. The abstraction of the benches meets the requirements of a good playground for children. These landscape devices raise the level of daily energy of student, it will surely have a positive impact on the students’ attitude for study in the classroom. Now that the school is open, the benches are showing a great performance loved very much by students, and have become a part of their school life.
Sculptural benches on the activity platform in Xinsha Primary School ©ACF
Sculptural benches in the courtyard in Xinsha Primary School ©ACF
Knowing that the project in Yutian is about community-building, there was a discussion in our design team about how to make stronger relationship between local residents and five benches on the site. And we planned a community event in Yutian using stamps of the five benches. We developed 56 stamps in total, including the sculptural benches, people in different postures, small animals such as cats and birds, vegetation, and some words such as “Yo!”. They are the tool that anyone can use to create an ideal space on a paper. By playing with the stamps, people will love the five benches on the site more, and by participating the community event, the residents will have more opportunity to meet new friends.
56 stamps ©一十一建筑
Community-building activity carried out with the set of stamps ©一十一建筑
Play with Space!
Speaking of “play that deals with space”, there are toy-blocks and LEGO that we all know from our childhood. Furthermore, we could think of building a secret base with cardboard, painting a landscape on paper, photographing an urban space, and so on. The stamps that we developed for Yutian are a good tool that people can play with and create spaces. This play involves fun about creation, technique, beauty, exhibition, communication, and so on. With the continuous development of the stamps, we made the product named “STAMPARK”, which is accessible to everyone from December 2021.
A tool to play and create space ©一十一建筑
A work made with “STAMPARK” ©一十一建筑
“STAMPARK”, Type-A ©一十一建筑
Trial: Movable Stool
The benches in Yutian are fixed in the place, while the benches in STAMPARK are movable on a paper, allowing players to create any ideal spatial compositions. Having a hint from STAMPARK, we made a movable stool by installing wheels on the legs, trying to realize the idea of “Life in Urban Space”. With the same concept as the benches in Yutian, we used ready-made steel pipes with the limited processing of cutting and welding. The stool has stubby legs, soft curves, and a humorous shape, so that, it looks like an adorable small animal crawling on the ground. As an experiment, it would be more interesting if we placed multiple stools together in a community space.
A stool with wheels ©一十一建筑
Life in Urban Space
City is a foundation of our lives. By designing landscapes full of flowers and greenery and installing public art, we can bring out the sense of life in urban space. While the urban space is required to be functional and rational, it should also have spatial richness in various ways; It will make the city fun to walk around. We think urban furniture is one possible design field that can be further developed. A good thing about urban furniture is that its scale is close to people and its space can deal with users’ activities.
Five animal-like benches ©一十一建筑
Use of the benches with free and creative mind ©一十一建筑
主创: 谢菁、FUJIMORI Ryo 设计团队: 许森茂，何奕君，罗明钢，蔡梓莹
Project Name: Sculptural Benches in Yutian Urban Village
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
WeChat Official Account: 野餐部
Design & Completion Year: 2019
Project Location: Yutian Village, Futian District, Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, P.R.China
Leader Designer: XIE Jing、FUJIMORI Ryo Team: XU Senmao, HE Yijun , LUO Minggang, Cai Ziying
Clients: 2018 Urban Design Festival beautiful Yutian organizing committee
Structural Consultant: Liu Chang (chief engineer of Shenzhen Tianhua structure)
Construction Team: Zhou Quan, Chen Jing (Shenzhen Dingfeng door and window company)
Photo credits: ASSBOOK_Liu Songkai，ACF，11ARCHITECTURE