Location：Shanghai Xintiandi Area
2023 Design Festival Theme:
The blurred June of 2022 lingers in our memory, overlapping with the image of early summer days of 2023. From last year’s memories to this summer in the city, many of us may have realized that what constructs our daily lives, the joy, the longing, the worry, the doubt, and frustration, all the trivialities are becoming more remarkable and more valuable for us to ponder over.
However, from another perspective, today we are living in a world constructed of alienated relationships and fast-changing information. All the corners in the city are covered with buildings, fashions, goods and so on in the homogenized style. In this way, while we are going through the iteration from ChatGPT to GPT-4, the subtle feelings that should be obtained in physical space are erased. Everything is going frigid and homogeneous. This feeling of "lost in space", not knowing where you are, makes people disconnected from their surroundings, and can even gradually devour the motivity for life.
“The cool breeze from the muggy south is breathing on the shoots. The rain suddenly arrived and was gone in a flash. The dew in summer, the brightness of the sky...” As a small part of our life, it is these insignificant things that become the “Plug-in-Illusion” (meaning a small part of something precious) and bring us inspiration. Wandering on the streets freely, we are able to feel, to see, to taste and enjoy the world clearly. We are immersed in the real scenes and emotional moments in the city, to grasp the details and overviews of nature and the universe ...... Life for individuals is nourished by the flexibility that brought by the freely changing process of urban life. People embrace their hearts while tapping into the pulse of the city's vitality.
So, does such an ideal city exist in contemporary society (or do we need to picture it)?
The city would accommodate our hurried bodies, while inject energy into our weary spirit.
If it exists, in what shape will it present itself?
In practice, people's behavior in public spaces is often complex. How can we build urban spaces that meet multiple physical and psychological needs?
When we are "lost in space" in the city, what are the coordinates that will help us settle down?
As the Design Shanghai @Xintiandi Design Festival enters its seventh year this summer, we expect it to be both deep and light. We invite all kinds of creators to join us, including architects and designers. Let’s confront the realities, the existing texture of the city and the urban life. Meanwhile, despite of this sobriety, please use all kinds of contemporary media and tools to transform unimaginable ideas and non-existent functions into a "plug-in" for the city.
Take Xintiandi as an interface to intervene and enrich the urban space with your fantasy through your design, telling an urban imagination that is not bound by words.
If creation is a kind of iteration, we can certainly find reference in history: In 1957, Yona Friedman explained the connotation of “mobile architecture” in Architecture Mobile: a restless society in which there was ceaseless changes. In the context of the prevailing consumerism of the 1960s, “the monotonous traditional architecture could not keep up with the changing concept.” In his “Ville Spatiale”, people can move freely around the city with their mobile houses, enjoying the freedom of change and growth at spatial and temporal dimensions. In 1964, in the fifth issue of Archigram, Peter Cook proposed the concept: “plug-in city”. Clearly elaborated the plug-in idea from the perspective of architecture and urban design. The plug- in city consists of a series of “hardware infrastructures”, such as conduits, pipes and fixed braced frame, and “software” in the form of movable housing units. “Consumption”, “Movable” and “Uncertain”. Those prospective concepts not only attached to the plug-in city responded to the dynamic state of city, but also considered public participation from the perspective of everyday life.
In 2023, please plug-in-Illusion —— use your creativity in different fields such as architecture/design/art/fashion to "embed" various installations in Xintiandi, the heart of the city. Find the cracks in the established urban fabric where fantasy can breathe, then use yourimagination as the "plug-in" to bring afflatus for the city!
With the theme “Plug-in-Illusion”, it is hoped that the connection between the real urban scene and the creative fantasy will encourage further discussion and study about the life in city. Just like how Auxiliary program such as “plug-in” adds or enhances the functionality of the software (They only work on the system platform specified by the program, it is impossible for them to run independently).
We expect this year's participants to make a study of Xintiandi and its surrounding commercial areas as thorough as possible, then organically combine imagination with the locality, functionality, communicability/interactivity, pioneer spirit ...... and even philanthropy targeting the specific fashion community and fast-changing customer flow. Most important, as mentioned before, in addition to the innovation involved in creativity itself, do our creations " accommodate our hurried bodies, while inject energy into our weary spirit."? In the process of creation, we pin our hope on the participants of this year's festival —— whether our creations still have the ability for emotional communication, rather than just draw attention.