The Shanghai West Bund Biennial for Architecture and Contemporary Art opened this week, and Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen wowed attendees by unveiling a pair of stunning pavilions. One is a series of three rooms built from Corten steel that houses support facilities including a café, a gallery and a bookshop. The other is an ethereal and interactive open-air pavilion called The Cloud that features a series of hanging ropes that move with the wind.
The Shanghai West Bund Biennial for Architecture and Contemporary Art asked Schmidt Hammer Lassen (along with some of China’s most respected architects and selected international architectural practices) to design and build pavilions for the annual art and architecture festival. SHL’s pavilions are located next to two giant industrial cranes along the Xuhui West Bank Riverside. Basing their work on the themes of “Reflecta” and “Fabrica”, the firm designed two different pavilions. The first is a series of three steel and glass boxes set under the walkway to be used as support pavilions. The daylight-filled buildings are a clear nod to the area’s industrial heritage, and each pavilion enjoys views of the nearby bridge, the crane and the river.
By contrast, SHL’s other creation is an ephemeral and playful space. “The Cloud pavilion is the quintessence of lightness, immateriality and fuzziness,” explained Kristian Lars Ahlmark, partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. “By hanging hundreds of white ropes from the pavilion’s ceiling, an effect is created where The Cloud is always changing. Visitors moving or a light breeze creates a subtle movement of the ropes, underlining the organic nature of the installation and the immateriality of the space. In Chinese culture, a cloud is an important symbol and a sign of good fortune.” The Cloud is intended as a place for experience and activity, while the support pavilions were designed for relaxation and contemplation.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s pavilions will be on display until the end of the festival on December 19th, 2013.
Images ©Schmidt Hammer Lassen