for Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu
COMMERCIAL INSTALLATION · GROUP PROJECT · 5 - MONTH
Working in a team of 7, I am mainly responsible for the concept development and design envisioning. I also participated in the client negotiation and production aspect of the project.
China gradually recovered from the pandemic in 2021, and Taikoo Li hoped people could get away from negative emotions and recharge their energy. Music, especially electronic music, is a great way to bring comfort and strength.
Chengdu has a strong local music atmosphere and a developed music market that is suitable for such an event. The Sichuan Conservatory of Music has a department of electronic music, and the government builds the city an international music capital.
The client hoped to create an audio, visual, and tactile art exhibit using electronic music. They did not want to make it look like ready-made that landed there but unique, exclusive, and interactive tailored to Taikoo Li and Chengdu.
We simplified the brief into an objective: to design a gather-and-recharge themed immersive art event.
We brainstormed and found a similarity between Chengdu and electronic music, that both are quiet during the day, but turn up at night. We agreed that our installation should have a contrasting look.
In addition, we also noticed that the client expectation of the event is human-centric and it is important to have human representation in our design.
The 24 Yueji is a traditional Chengdu music art form that 24 musicians playing different instruments gather and perform a symphony. Such art form is suitable for us, because it signifies both music and gatherings.
Then, we started ideating different forms that abstractify the 24 Yueji. First, we designed an abstract sculpture representing musicians, and placed them around an artificial rising sun. The concept of this ideation is that even at night, there is a spiritual sun that attracts people to gather and enjoy the music.
The client loved the initial concept but asked for simplification. The fundamental concept was approved, but the expression was too straightforward and not relatable.
To simplify the concept, we focused on abstracting the imagery. Instead of the figurative sculptures, we decided to use mirrors and speakers.
Mirror would better engage the audience because it shows their reflections, and the speakers, like the musicians, collaborate with each other and perform a symphony.
The music will be played as acousmonium: each speaker would play its own channel, and when combined, it would form the complete piece, like a modern interpretation of the 24 Yueji.
There will be a beacon instead of the sun and shoot out light beams onto the mirrors. The mirrors would be rotating, and thus reflects the light onto each other, similar to how people interact with each other and pass on their enthusiasm for music.
Having a team of 7 working on a grandiose project, everyone played an important role. Unlike many of my individual projects, for Soundscape, I was in charge of many duties other than design, which to me was extremely helpful to follow the entire realization process of a project in the real business world. Besides ceoncept development and installation design, I participated in client relationship, supplier communication, resources gathering, artists collaboration and more, altogether while the team was working on two or three projects like this one.
Although having this experience of working in a relative small team was a challenge for me, I benefited from it not only because of the responsibilities, but also because I have built up a firm relationship with my team members.
After confirming the ideation, the next step was to built a high resolution 3D model. This would not only serve as renderings to show clients our expected outcome, but also as a guidance for the suppliers to produce the installations. In this step, we gradually figured out the exact positions to place the mirrors and speakers, including what reflections to be expected when the mirrors rotate.
The final installation was exhibited between October 19th, 2021 to November 8th, 2021. Besides the visual and tactile highlights, the exhibition featured a tailor-made electronic music piece collaborated between music artist Haiping Ma, music producer Anti-General, and students from the Sichuan Conservatory of Music.