Revelation of Space 20/20

The work of a designer is an action actively involved in the space. On one side, it carries out design work in accordance with the current situation, characteristics and problems of the space. On the other side, it constructs the space-time relation, social significance and future value of the design in the sharpening and precipitation of time.

Space and time are two dimensions that must be faced in the work of design, which should confront both the places and the reality of this era. Design has always been more than just a technique or pure technical expression. It is the cognition and judgment of the present era and current location, as well as the shape of the thought of an era.

As an enterprise participating in China’s urbanization process, Times China has launched a series of celebrations and commemorative activities on its 20th anniversary with a focus on building the “Times Pavilion”. Instead of calling it an exhibition space, it is more appropriate to describe the pavilion as the meditation of an enterprise over the time, value, society and history of the space generation and enterprise development in China’s development. It is an autonomous action sorting and writing the enterprise history and social values in the way of spatial organization, which in the expression of space: it is constantly seeking and reflecting the fundamental questions such as “what is exhibition”, “what is design” or “how to push forward the relation between space and people”. It is because of its “fundamental” nature that those questions cannot be avoided; It is precisely because of its “fundamental” nature that those questions and the answers seem more profound and revelatory.

As the chief designer of the pavilion, basing on his brand interpretation of Times China, Gu Teng has proposed the space concept of “revelation” and extracted three key words: “space”, “matter” and “energy”, so as a respond to his space concept in design. In Gu Teng’s eyes, a regular and standardized pavilion is not what Times China short of. For a modest and innovative enterprise, “what it shows for” is more important than “what to show”. It is of greater rationality and humanistic significance to step back and think about the limitations of design and space than to merely show the omnipotence of design. Because the really effective presentation is not propaganda, but the synchrony and empathy inspired by sensation.

Most of the previous space designs were static,  as an “unchanging” result of  imagination and plan. This design logic has hardly changed in nature since the ancient times. However with the progressing of civilization and science and technology, the used materials and technologies have been constantly innovating in order to create a spatial effect that matches the present times. In Times Pavilion, Gu Teng first broke the distinct relation between space and furnishings, that is, to let the walls of the whole space and the display screen be folded flexibly. Walking around the pavilion,  the screens move as the people move. People’s moving track is the core logic and the dominance of space motion, different from the usual exhibition space, where the spatial relation is fixed and people are just passive onlookers, information receivers and the roles of being promoted.

The Spaces and exhibits of Times Pavilion are moving backward, folding and disappearing. The wall and screen, once activated in display mode, presents the audience with an immersive narrative space. However, when the presentation is over, it folds back and returns to the simplest state, which is also the original state of the space, with no division, decoration or expression, just a quiet and secret space gradually fading out. 

When designing the spatial form of “Times Pavilion”,  a thought came across Gu Teng’s mind: why not give up the conventional thinking of “making a space just for the sake of it”? Then Gu Teng made a push to free the design work from the framework of service space and focus on creating and bringing out the potential of the space, thus allowing people to walk into this space and then change their long-fixed impressions of the conventional thinking and the experiencing way of space design, which enables people in this immersive narrative space to face themselves, their memories and the unknown space-time they have to step into. In such space, Times China plays more than a narrator. With the help of the space medium, it brings people out of the space and into a journey of meditation together. This also gives an insight into the nature of life, which is not just about the arrangement of functions, but also about being in the relation of time and space and returning to humanism.

Gu Teng has hidden the design, leaving no trace. Although Times Pavilion presents a strong sense of futurism, it also reflects the thoughts of Taoism, “the great sound seems soundless, the great image seems formless”. Walking into the space, people become affected by its energy in forming their memories and even making their dreams.

As the space work for its 20th anniversary of the founding of Times China, Times Pavilion builds a narrative space for the company, and itself also becomes a medium of energy excitation. Just as the promotional video has interwoven the dancer and the space, presenting the lightness and buoyancy of space, however, when the screen turns into the ruins, the contrasted force of space-time in this space reveals the reflection of historical and humanistic thinking. Perhaps for Times China, this is no longer a place to tell the story of itself. It has become the assembly medium of the spirit of the time and a clear and bright spot in the culture of the time. It can even shape our memories of an era and our thoughts on social missions and life.

Project Organizer: Times China

Project address: Guangzhou, China

Project Category: Enterprise Exhibition Pavilion

Design Agency: Sangu Design

Project Coordinator: Ryan

Showcasing Design: Vision Global

Construction Unit: Times Construction

Main Materials: LED Screen, Atomized Stainless Steel, Polished Slab Stainless Steel

Main Construction Supplier: Guangzhou HORNET STEEL ART Co.,Ltd

Design Team: Ryan Chan, Jesse Lee, Duisen Ma, Jack Lee, Lillian Luk

Photography: Tan Xiao, Gu Teng

Action Choreographer: Sangu Design

Claymation Animation: Guangzhou Frontop Digital Creative Technology Co.,Ltd

Business Administration: Faye

Article Author: ARTDBL Zhong Gang

Article Translator: Even Studio

Director: Gu Teng

Producer: Sky-Hou

Videographer: Xing Qi
Post-production: FEEL POST

Behind-the-screen Editor: SANGU DESIGN ,Dada

Soundtrack: A New Power

Cast: Tan Yuanbo, Esther, Yang Jing

Chief Designer: Gu Teng

Acknowledgement: Brand Management Centre of Times China

Proejct Process