Stuff Wall is inspired by metal security screens commonly attached to homes in old Beijing neighborhoods. Originally designed to keep out unwanted guests, the screens inadvertently become spaces for storing stuff. In these neighborhoods of winding alleys called hutongs, only security screen windows hint at the lives of people on the other side of long brick walls.
Stuff Wall transposes the narrow labyrinthine streets of Beijing hutongs to K11 Art Space in Hong Kong. Contained within the security screen walls of this maze is waste from Beijing where the design of Stuff Wall is conceived, Guangzhou where it is produced, and Hong Kong where it is exhibited. These three cities represent the tumultuous change that characterizes contemporary China.
There is a story behind each piece of waste. In Beijing, the nation’s cultural center, we collected remnants of torn down traditional courtyard houses from historic neighborhoods, just a small sample of the buildings demolished on a daily basis. In Guangzhou, a manufacturing powerhouse in the world’s factory, we gathered massive amounts of leftover fabric from the production of new clothing in garment factories. And in Hong Kong, a global capital of consumption, we looked for used goods from street markets and stalls.
As visitors find their way through Stuff Wall the surrounding detritus eventually recedes in elevation to reveal an unfettered view of the traversed path, much like the raised vantage point rewarded to people at the end of a traditional maze. Located in K11’s underground exhibition space, the installation can be seen by people on their way to the subway or the mall. To encourage passersby to engage with the project, nested windows are cut through the walls of the maze, allowing views through multiple layers of stuffed screens into the heart of the maze.
As guests lose their way in the maze, they will encounter new and old stories. Walls are left partially empty to encourage guests to embed their own belongings and narratives.
Date of Completion: Nov 2016
Principals:He Zhe, James Shen, Zang Feng
Project Team:Feng Ziqing, Pablo Herraiz Garcia de Guadiana, Wei Jiachen, Zhang Zhen
Photographer:People’s Architecture Office