Design Society Shenzhen

Design Society Shenzhen

Shenzhen, Guangdong, China | View Map
Project Year
Zhang Chao

Design Society Shenzhen

MVRDV as Architects

MVRDV was commissioned by Design Society Shenzhen to complete the spatial design for ‘Minding the Digital’ a temporary exhibition in the The Sea World Culture and Arts Center located in Shekou, Shenzhen. In partnership with London’s V&A Gallery, Design Society Shenzhen seeks to stimulate the growing design scene in Southern China.

For the exhibition ‘Minding the Digital’ MVRDV proposed a labyrinth over two floors that created different experiences and synergies between the various display environments. MVRDV collaborated with Amsterdam-based graphic designers Thonik on the visual identity of the exhibition.

Design is, and will continue to be, integral to our world and those to come. Both an action and an object, design refers to the collective thinking processes that shape new societies. It speaks of the moment before production; about thinking before making. Design products revolutionize our world but are equally revolutionized by the processes and mechanisms through which they are conceived of and produced. In a society led by design - under endless construction - what is the impact of digitized methods of making?

MVRDV’s proposal reflected upon the myriad forms of digital creativities critical to China’s shift from a historic manufacturing centre to innovation hub. It sought to communicate the interrelation of process and product and speculate on the future thereof.

The spatial design reflects upon the question of how to identify the multiple design directions afforded by digital thinking? To answer this, MVRDV developed a labyrinth located over two floors. The proposal individualized and differentiated display environments for installations and designers whilst at the same time creating a synergy between floors. Visitors were offered multiple perspectives within the gallery: either immersed within the exhibition, as they moved from room to room, or as observers engaging with activities below.

The exhibition hall consisted of two levels:

On the first level, a labyrinth of ideas was created. The floor was designed as a maze of black rooms each accommodating the work of an individual designer or installation actively contributing to the making of a new world. Visitors were encouraged to move from room to room experiencing each contribution separately but still as part of a greater narrative.

On the level, stairs led to a glass floor that allowed for views of the products, designers and visitors below. Akin to a ‘dance floor’ it encouraged visitors to walk ‘over’ (hi)stories whilst engaging with future products. An illuminated space for both reflection and projection that, although apart, remained connected to the exhibits below.

The inventions of the past somehow interrelate and this is somehow described as an open source society that promotes showing. and an awareness of what others are doing and thinking.  is a place for encountering the interrelatedness of the past and present whilst looking to the future. 

Layer after layer new societies are formed incrementally. MVRDV’s proposal for ‘Minding the Digital’ could be likened to Schliemann’s excavations in Troy that revealed the evolution of history and the making of the city. The future is made by inventive ideas that lead to the emergence of the evolutionary city. All of the rooms, ideas, products and makers included within the exhibition offered a panoramic view of (digital) design and how it will construct our futures.

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