Shenzhen city has expanded the urban area at a high speed in the past few decades and taken a series of dotted local villages into its urban expanse; they are now called “城中村“ translated into “a village inside a city”. The villages are usually composed of five to six stories self-built blocks densely packed in a bounded area with a non-planned narrow lane network, and they don’t provide a livable quality of light, ventilation, and fire protection. Yutian Village is one of them, but has been undergoing the gentrification process since 2018. The closed community of the past has been opened to the outside, providing more rental flats for the youth, coffee shops, bookstores, zakka stores, and so on.
As a part of the gentrification program, eight young designers were invited to improve the community space in the village. And, we proposed five pieces of unique sculptural benches, which were placed in three separate pocket spaces. Although each bench was given an abstract form it was composed of a body piece and legs, looked like a kind of animal. People could sit astride it, hug it, and lie on top of it. We hoped this setting would bring out many scenes of ballet to the community space.
The benches were put together with ready-made metal products commonly seen in the construction industry, and they took the process of cutting and welding only. This simple process made it possible to produce the work with the limited budget. The body piece was made of the metal pipe in a diameter of 330mm, which made this animal chunky but good for hugging. After the assemblage, they were galvanized and coated with the automotive paint looking blight and smooth. We came up with two-color-scheme to decorate each bench. The line created by the edge between two colors ran on the body surface; it ran where it could best present the unique form of the bench.