As a part of the Chinese pavilion at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, Studio Pei Zhu has designed and constructed an outdoor installation which aims to reinterpret, explore and expand on the traditional Chinese garden and notions of space through contemporary and futuristic methods.
Located in a courtyard outside of the old Arsenale building, 'Yi Garden' is comprised of more than 1300 acrylic bars of varying heights, arranged in a grid system on the lawn. When viewed from afar, the sanded, luminous tips of the bars come together to create a cloud-like form that seems to float above the ground. The pavilion also creates loose spaces or zones which promote movement for those who physically enter and interact with the bars.
Traditional Chinese landscape, much like Chinese painting and calligraphy, works in softness that is both tangible and conceptual. It often obscures the horizon by avoiding straight lines in paths and exclusively uses organic and geological forms. The character 'yi' literally translates to 'meaning, idea or desire' but its associations include both the concept that precedes actualization, the move from the concrete to the abstract, and invisible over visible structure. By using the language of modern materials and abstractions, the installation blurs the edges of form and space, creating tension between the indistinct and distinct, and ultimately becomes a prop in the process of form-engaging rather than serve it's role as an object in itself.