Shanghai – It seems hard to believe given their string of reliably outstanding projects – just look at in the roster for this year’s St-W Awards – but Shanghai-based studio Wutopia Lab was established merely five years ago. To celebrate the occasion, lead architect Yu Ting invited professor Fan Wenbing to curate a mini retrospective inside – fittingly, one of the studio’s clients.
But as Wutopians revel on bringing forth the unexpected, they eschewed the typologies of traditional architectural exhibitions. Instead of drawings, models and videos, ‘we decided to try something different, to reproduce our practice of Magical Realism in architecture,’ Yu explained.
That’s why the dozen projects selected are displayed in the form of mountains, whose content can be accessed via QR codes. The resulting overlapping display boards form a sort of set of folding screens, similar to those found in traditional Chinese residences – and that’s where the name of the exhibition, Layering Screens, comes from.
The words and photographs displayed on the striking red mountains appear to be floating on air, while pointing towards Yu’s bold professional experiments with semi-transparency, materiality, layered elevations, colours and shadows. ‘The coinciding red of the mountains and the green of the Sinan exhibition room creates an environment towards my aesthetic of Magical Realism,’ said the architect.
May their arresting and engaging projects bring its users 100 years of non-solitude.