..............................MicroCBD.............................................................................................................................................


Fact sheet

CREDITS :
Benjamin Beller

PROJECT :
Public space installation

SITE :
Shenzhen // Qianhai district

STATUS :
Built

SIZE : 150m2

COMMISSION :
Qianhai Public Art festival 2015

BUDGET : 15000E

PARNTERS :
Wang Tian Qi (artist)

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The MicroCBD is an abstract metaphor of the contemporary city, a shrunk down urban microcosm at the pedestrian scale. The installation is both a celebration and a critique of the omnipotence of the skyscrapers as the prevalent model of urban production and of which the new Qianhai district is a perfect example. It investigates the potential quality of vertical structures and density in the public domain. The MicroCBD is designed as a completely artificial space, a man-made bricks and concrete jungle. The ground, the public amenities, and the vertical tower “buildings” all form a complete and fully controlled environment. This total environment, much alike its metropolitan counterpart, is ambiguous in nature: it is homogeneous yet diverse, monumental yet human scale, generic yet specific, iconic yet playful, anonymous yet recognizable, ecstatic yet utterly stable.

The installation is an exaggerated experiment testing the extent to which our urban spaces today may well be over-designed, over-built, and controlled to the point where it is increasingly difficult to find space for the indeterminacy of public life. Every inch of streets, parks, public spaces, buildings, are planned, harmonized, and conditioned. Spaces, materiality and even the climate are regulated, managed and manipulated by the city designers.

The micro CBD takes the form of a compound made of 13 towers of various sizes and heights sitting on a series of clustering public furniture. All those elements as well as the pavement are realized with one single, and maybe the most basic material for any type of man-made construction: red bricks masonry. A mist-cooling system hidden in the towers diffuses water droplets that control the climate and envelops the whole space into a hazy cooling cloud. The platform-like furniture of varying heights permits a wide and free array of usages. What people will or will not do in the space is not specifically conditioned. The micro CBD is a pure abstract space, a blank page where the public will determine for themselves how to use their streets or the city.

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