With the Forbidden City as its backdrop, the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing hosted weekend-long cultural activities and thought-provoking panels once a month, offering a platform for events and unique ways of experiencing architecture.
Modelled on the Serpentine’s annual Pavilion commission in London’s Royal Park of Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing formed a public cultural hub in the centre of Beijing. The interplay of Pavilion and programme realised the idea of “social architecture” through a variety of activities from workshops and performances to thought-provoking discussions.
JIAKUN Architect’s Serpentine Pavilion Beijing took inspiration from Confucianism with an architecture that was a physical representation of the traditional pursuit of Junzi (君子). With a focus on society, community and an engagement with the local context, Liu Jiakun’s design addressed contemporary architectural issues with a sense of realism. The Pavilion embodied China’s traditions, vernacular craftsmanship and the reciprocal relation between Chinese public life and urban cultural space.
Activities at five monthly Pavilion Weekends featured two themed talks, Inspiration Talks and ‘The Future of’ series, and a wide range of community activities, including well-being workshops, lawn parties, children’s disco classes, performances and curated outdoor art-cinema evenings. The Inspiration Talks series brought together celebrated architects and artists with thought-leaders across a wide spectrum of industries, invited to debate topics including the role of art and culture in innovation, society and urban renewal. These series presented multi-disciplinary panels, taking a different focus each weekend and bringing leading architects and artists, together with thought-leaders from the worlds of finance, science, media, entertainment, retail and hospitality to explore the role of art and culture in the urgent debates of today.
As part of the Pavilion Weekends, a wide range of community events took place, including well-being and creativity workshops; lawn parties; kids disco classes; performances and curated outdoor art-cinema evenings, with the goal of fostering learning and inspiration, as well as enhancing a sense of community by creating a platform to share ideas about art and culture.
The opening of the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing on 29 May 2018 featured a performance by new media artist Feng Mengbo with musician and record producer Zhang Yadong, followed by a light show titled ‘UFO’ (2018) specifically conceived for the occasion and designed by Juehui Wu.
PAVILION WEEKENDS PROGRAMME
Artist Wu Jiehui and UFO studios designed a site-specific light show for the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing that was on view every evening from 8 to 10 pm.
Saturday and Sunday, 10am-12 noon
In conjunction with PURE Yoga, these morning workshops focused on wellbeing of the body and mind, including yoga, meditation, music and dance. Free to all, the workshops invited the public to connect to art while pursuing personal wellbeing.
Weekend Lawn Parties
Saturday and Sunday, 1-5pm
On the lawn of The Green, adjacent to the Pavilion, a weekend celebration of outdoor fun featuring music, food and beverage pop-up experiences from restaurants and outlets at WF CENTRAL. A delightful way to enjoy the Pavilion over the summer.
Saturday and Sunday, 2-5pm
A series of workshops and playgrounds designed for parents and their children, encouraging them to explore their creative side through play and making.
Outdoor Kids’ Discos
Saturday and Sunday, 2-5pm
A fun and relaxing workshop for families to connect with art and the beautiful outdoors through rhythm and movement. Dance courses provided by instructors from international studio Sunshine Studios.
Saturday and Sunday, 8-10pm
A series of films screened in the Pavilion at the end of each Pavilion Weekend day. The first Pavilion Weekend, presented with Nulanpa Cinema 怒澜电影院, showcased silent films made in the 1920s and 30s – a golden era in Chinese cinematic history – accompanied by contemporary musical styles of Chinese musicians. The second Pavilion Weekend presented a selection of VR films including the documentary ‘Sanctuaries of Silence’ (USA, 8 min), ‘Notes on Blindness’ (France, 7 min), ‘Dispatch’ (USA, 28 min), and ‘Beethoven’s Fifth’ (USA/UK, 10 min).
Weekend ‘Inspiration Talk’ and ‘The Future Of…’ series
An ongoing thematic series throughout the Pavilion Weekends programme presenting thought-leadership talks and panel discussions. On Saturdays and Sundays respectively, each panel focused on a different theme and brought together leading professionals from the arts, fashion and sciences.
2-3 JUNE 2018
Inspiration Talk: The Role of Creativity in Urban Regeneration
Participants: Iwan Baan (architectural photographer), Aric Chen (Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, M+ Museum), Meng Yan (Co-founder, URBANUS Architecture), Sunny Li (Director, Luxelakes A4 Art Museum), Maurice Li (Serpentine Pavilion Beijing Programme Producer)
The Future Of: Art and Technology
Participants: Hu Jieming (Dean, School of Visual & Digital Media Arts, FudanUniversity), Lu Yang (artist), Dr. Zhao-Yuan Ma (Professor of Physics at Chinese Academy of Sciences), Qin Hui (scholar, retired professor, Department of History, Tsinghua University), aajaiao (artist), Chen Junhui (artist and curator)
7-8 JULY 2018
Inspiration Talk: Urban Lifestyle – Quality of a Place
Participants: Coleen Chinnery (artist, curator and musician), Sun Dayong (cofounder, PENDA Architecture), Li Lin (Professor, CAFA School of Urban Design)
The Future Of: Storytelling
Participants: Yu Hong (artist), Che Lin (curator, VR module of Beijing International Film Festival), Cao Dan (curator, director, Media Veteran)
4-5 AUGUST 2018
Inspiration Talk: Cities of the Future
Participants: Wang Hui (co-founder of URBANUS), Wang Nan (Professor of Architecture, Tsinghua University), Liu Chuang (artist), Jennifer Wen Ma (artist).
The Future Of: Design and Objects
Participants: Wang Xu (editor-in-chief, AD China), Nabuqi (artist), Pan Jingzi (Creative Director, DEFRONT)
8-9 SEPTEMBER 2018
Inspiration Talk: Creativity in Public Spaces
Participants: Leung Man To (author and critic), Wang Shu (architect), Zhan Wang (artist)
The Future of: Hacking the Future
Participants: Feng Mengbo (artist), Wu Jiehui (artist), Wang Xia (researcher, Tsingdata Big Data Industries Association)
26 OCTOBER – Love Design
Special Event in partnership with GQ FOCUS
A panel featuring leading international figures in the design industry speaking about their practices, inspiration and how we use design to make the world around us a bit more loveable. With: Amy Frearson (Editorial Director, Dezeen), Luca Nichetto (Founder, Luca Nichetto Studio), Ralph Nauta (Founder, Studio Drift)
27-28 OCTOBER 2018
Inspiration Talk: Art is Everywhere
Participants: Cao Fei (artist), Pung-Leung Kwan (cinematographer), Che Fei (architect and author)
The Future of: Fashioned Identity
Participants: Masha Ma (fashion designer), Wing Shya (Director and Photographer), Della Chuang (perfume designer & creative)
Musicity at the Serpentine Pavilion Beijing 2018
With the support of the British Council, the Musicity project was in China for the first time in 2018, visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The project theme was ‘Urban Regeneration’. From June to August 2018, 21 ‘regenerated’ buildings (seven in each city) were visited by four British musicians (including Nick Luscombe) and ten Chinese musicians. Inspired by these buildings and their locations, a piece of music was created for each one. The Serpentine Pavilion Beijing and WF Central hosted AI+, an electronic music group. The members of the group have been making and performing electronic music for many years. They are developing a project to leverage two AI (artificial intelligence) tech leaders: IBM and Microsoft with their cutting-edge AI technologies to compose, arrange, write lyrics for, and sing the song, which will then be performed by a human group using classic vintage synthesizers – this is where machine and human crossover and digital and analog crossover. Members: Dr. Alan Ip, Ray Kong, Yanlo Chow. When the pavilion leaves the site, the music will remain. More information.