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Stuff Wall

People's Architecture Office

Walls for representation, reflection, and expression.


"Stuff Wall" presents an installation done by People's Architecture Office for the K11 Art Space in Hong Kong. The installation was inspired by metal security screens commonly attached to homes in old Beijing neighborhoods - and while the screens were originally designed to keep out unwanted guests, the screens inadvertently became spaces for storing personal belongings, allowing hints at the lives of the residents.

PAO drew inspiration from the old hutong neighborhoods in Beijing, constructing a narrow labyrinth-like maze out of waste held between security screen walls. The installation encourages reflection, both onto historicism, and contemporary conditions. The waste that is used for the installation comes from three cities; from Beijing, the nation's cultural center, came remnants of torn down courtyard houses in demolished historical hutong neighborhoods; from Guangzhou, a global manufacturing center, comes large amounts of leftover fabric scrap that is typically thrown away as byproduct of clothing manufacturing; and in Hong Kong, a global capital of consumption, used goods were purchased from street markets, stalls, and second-hand stores. The origins of the waste reveal the story of the tumultuous change taking place in contemporary China, and specifically in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.

The exhibition is located in K11's underground exhibition space where it can engage people on their way to the subway or to the mall. Passersby can engage with visitors through windows that are cut through the walls of the maze, which also allow views through multiple layers of stuffed walls into the heart of the maze. As visitors explore the stories constructed within the walls of the exhibition, the detritus that makes up the Stuff Wall recedes in elevation to reveal an unbound view of the pathway. This reveal creates both a satisfying reward for the visitors and as they reflect on how they arrived through the labyrinth, as well as leaving space to encourage visitors to deposit their own belongings and embedding their narratives into the exhibit.

Stuff Wall transposes multiple issues in contemporary China and constructs them into a single exhibition that challenges visitors to reflect on and contribute to the conditions around them.

(Story by Jacob Sas, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Mentioned project: Stuff Wall (2016)
Project location: Hong Kong
Principal: He Zhe, James Shen, Zang Feng
Project team: Feng Ziqing, Pablo Herraiz Garcia de Guadiana, Wei Jiachen, Zhang Zhen
Photography: People's Architecture Office

Hong Kong 2016
Duration: 2'12''