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The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki revealed early designs for China‘s “first major design museum”, a project in the Shekou district of Shenzhen commissioned by China Merchants Group (CMG) in collaboration with London’s V&A Museum. The Japanese architect unveiled models to coincide with the formal signing of an agreement between the V&A and the Chinese development company. The developers and the V&A claim it will be China’s first major design institution, piping to the post the Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ museum of visual culture in Hong Kong. Due to open at the end of 2016, the Shekou Museum is part of Maki’s Shenzen Sea World Cultural Arts Centre project, which is already under construction. It will host a permanent gallery space for the London institution as well as offer additional space for it to present major exhibitions. Model images released by Maki’s studio show a four-storey building with three projecting volumes and a grand external staircase. Featuring three severely cantilevered volumes that extend from a low sitting stage, the Shekou Museum will offer four stories of presentation spaces. A stairway on corner of the external surface leads visitors towards the tops of the plain of the three expecting structures which open up onto an open green zone; from which to get a kick out of points of view of the nearby via ocean. Flat roofs will host gardens and public terraces, while the entrance area of the concrete and steel structure will feature a triple-height glazed atrium. In a statement released, the V&A said it had signed a collaboration agreement to support China Merchants Group with its plan to develop “the first major museum of design in China”. The new design museum located in Shenzhen aims to promote Chinese design to an international audience, as well as present the best international design in China. It will advise the Chinese museum in the development of its own collections and train its senior management team, with a senior V&A curator. The curator of the M+ Aric Chen said that he would not be duplicating the efforts of other museums like the V&A, which tended to put Asian design on the periphery. “I see our Hong Kong perspective as being something very organic, natural, and hence perhaps more authentic,” said Chen.

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