A Weaving Double Helix in Shanghai Shikumen

The double helix weaving installation is located at the entrance of a newly built Shikumen-style commercial district in Shanghai. It is part of the opening exhibition and also serves as a striking gateway to the city. It combines nostalgic elements with a futuristic sci-fi aesthetic.

The district primarily serves nearby community and features local foods. Considering its compact layout, a hanging installation is proposed above the main promenade instead of a plaza sculptures or entrance arches.

The installation consists of two curved double helices that form an X-shaped steel mesh frame. It is suspended from steel cables on the gable walls. It resembles a Shanghai traditional breakfast staple, youtiao (a fried dough twist), or a dragon-shaped monster welcoming the Lunar New Year. The surface rolls continuously in space, providing a flowing and ever-changing perspective from various directions and levels of the district.

The 'scale' of the dragon is composed of 1,300 elliptical acrylic double-sided illuminated rings. Their connection to the main structure is inspired by traditional weaving patterns (often used by the previous generation to make tote bags). They are all flexibly connected together through the most common 5cm wide weaving straps, and the lighting rings are fixed by sewing detail on strapes' intersection. Radial weaving and threading work are all completed on site by craftsmen.

The continuously rolling surfaces, green and orange woven straps, and enlarged handcrafted nodes contrast with the narrow alleyways, grey bricks and red tiles. People passing under the lighting helices, constitutes a retro and magical urban scene.

Design: HCCH Studio
Design team: Hao Chen, Chenchen Hu, Xinyi Yao, Jiaqi Liu
Location: Hongshoufang Shanghai
Client: Shuion Xintiandi
Period: May.2023-Sept.2023
Photography: STUDIO FANG