Year: 2013
Size: 20 m2
Type: installation
Status: completed
Location: Montpellier, France
Client: Festival des Architectures Vives

Partner in charge: Chen Chen

External collaborators: Tian Ren, Ke Xu

Every year the Festival des Architectures Vives organizes the construction of several installations in the courtyards of historical buildings that are opened for the occasion to the public. The 2013 festival focused on the theme of “memory” and our design aimed to produce a space inspired by miniature oriental gardens that could interact with the personal and collective memories of the visitors.

An array of aluminum beams created an artificial landscape that echoes the typical lavender fields of South France. The tectonic details were designed to avoid the use of any welding so that the installation could be assembled or disassembled within 3 hours.

Hundreds of aluminum trees were cut out from the beams to lighten the structure and were etched with the seven main emotions of Chinese philosophy. People of all ages were invited to pick up a tree, write their memories or wishes on it and “plant” it back onto the landscape, following an index of historical dates on the base.

The public understood the rules of the installation naturally and became the active element of the performance. Writing and planting became a ritual of liberation, where wishes could find their physical materialization in the plants and sadness could be absorbed by the ground, revealing the implicit potential of our design. At the end of the week, all the 1200 trees were written and planted, saturating the whole landscape of memories.

Festival des Architectures Vives是法国南部城市Montpellier一年一度的建筑艺术展。每年这个展览都会邀请世界各地的10组建筑师或艺术家为10个17世纪的老城内院做装置设计。