NL Footprint – Beijing

Architecture

NL Footprint

The Dutch Days exhibition was a temporary exhibition showcasing Dutch architecture in Beijing. The exhibition was hosted in an existing showroom, and exhibited 6 buildings in the city, designed by different Dutch architectural practices with offices in Beijing.

Dutch in Beijing

We were given the opportunity to collaborate with the Dutch Embassy in Beijing, in showcasing Dutch architecture designed and built in Beijing.

Exhibition opening function

Minimal Architecture, Maximum Exposure

We wanted to create a space in which people could wander and explore the different projects. For this, we drew inspiration from a Dutch architectural icon: the Sonsbeek Pavilion in Arnhem.

Sonsbeek Sculpture Pavilion by Dutch architect, Aldo van Eyck

Overlapping translucent layers

Beijing city map – Exhibition location

Location

The venue for the exhibition was in the heart of the the embassy district in Beijing, Sanlitun. A complex of renovated courtyards and factory buildings create a shopping and dining complex.

Location isometric – Exhibition location

Dutch architecture on display.

Exhibition venue space sketch

Existing Space

The exhibition took place in an existing showroom pop-up space in the heart of the embassy district of Beijing. Seeing as it was an active retail space, we had to consider their day-to-day operations in our planning of design, construction and dismantling.

Installation

With so many parties involved in producing the exhibition, close collaboration was key in creating a success. Through working with the venue operators, the curatorial help, the embassy, and the contractors, the team was able to carry out a smooth process.

Installation process

Polycarbonate wall being installed in the venue

Tsinghua University School of Architecture Graduate Lab model on display – maison h

Serene Backdrop

The exhibition was to only be a temporary intervention in the space, and so we chose to use lightweight, temporary structures and materials, to create a serene backdrop for the projects, and which could be re-usable elsewhere after the exhibition.

Exhibition opening evening

Films

For each project we commissioned a short film to be made which would seek to explain the project from a non-designer’s perspective through interviews with the clients and users of the projects.

Project documentary films

Exhibition opening evening

Pedestals are varying heights for different interactions with the models

Experience Not Image

Models became the main form of exhibition medium. Models are perhaps the most universally and easily understandable means of expressing architectural space to people.

InSPORTS Center – Powerhouse Company

Tsinghua University Architecture School Graduate Lab – maison h

Project model close-up

Team: Martijn de Geus, Simon Henstra, Victor Tee, Han Zhang

Client: Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Beijing

Project Year: 2017

Location: Beijing, China