200812 p01 p06 contents&contrabutorsindd

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ON THE HORIZON Shanghai's World Expo reimagines
China's second city

Man-made Forests p11 Gas, Grass, Biomass p14 The Opposite House p48 Dior to infinity at UCCA p40 Montrose man's sublime lair p26 Jakartarchitecture: Hot is cool p12 Vinyl Group tricks out Shanghai p23 Zoning In: China's art district craze p42 DUB: Portal to the friendliest land on earth p54


国内统一刊号 CN 11-3909/J

december 2008 Urbane



Urbane december 2008

december 2008 Urbane



december 2008

On the Cover: On the Cover: Renderings of the Shanghai World Expo’s futuristic structures offer a glimpse of what to expect in 2010. In the foreground, the Expo’s UFO-like Convention Center has landed. 18 Everlasting Expo Hu Jintao himself has set the stakes explicitly: “Hosting a successful, splendid and unforgettable World Expo is crucial for China in its drive to fully build a well-off society.” What’s going on to make this “crucial” Expo one for the ages? Shanghai is submitting itself to a large-scale urban transformation now typical of a Chinese city looking to show off for a set-piece event. A huge dig to upgrade the city’s infrastructure, a revamped Bund and a massive publicity push featuring a gooey blue Gumbylike mascot are just the beginning. The event itself will last for six months in 2010 and feature a guest list of more than 200 nations and organizations, each out in force with innovative displays to compete for the world’s attention. BY GARY BOWERMAN 42 In the Zone The National Art Museum of China has announced plans to build a new, approximately RMB 1.2 billion, 80,000 square meter building near the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, which will primarily focus on the display of modern and contemporary art. Their announcement signals a significant switch, as up till now the government’s role in the promotion of contemporary art has been upstaged by the country’s privately funded art institutions. Katherine Don and Katie Grube from RedBox Studio introduce the Chinese institutions dedicated to contemporary art. BY KATHERINE DON AND KATIE GRUBE


Urbane december 2008

december 2008 Urbane


This past year will be remembered by Beijingers for a lot of things. A few subway lines opened. The United States of America elected a president. It rained a lot more than usual. Perhaps most memorable of all, the Shanghai 2010 World Expo announced its mascot, Haibao. Of course, aside from the subways and the rain, some other memorable stuff happened in Beijing in 2008. As I recall, we made time amongst all the other excitement to host a Metropolitan Set-Piece Event (MSPE). For its sake we built a bunch of jazzy new infrastructure, including a few wonderfully silly buildings, and invited the world to pay attention to us. A gang of five Metropolitan Set-Piece Event mascots enjoyed their finest moment during this time. Despite a handful of dubious distinctions since their launch in 2006, the five were widely acknowledged to be among the most impressive performers of the Event. They bounced, they boogied, they bungled (comically). They knew kung fu. They overcame so much. And they inspired us all. Expectations are understandably high for the svelte blue upstart on the MSPE mascot scene – Haibao. When Haibao’s true time in the spotlight arrives, how will he perform? What about his city? Can a city spoil itself with spotlight? (The World Expo will go on for a merciless six months.) Is there a risk that Haibao’s gleeful hyping may one day wane, of sheer exhaustion? Or will the world’s appetite for Expo-hype proove delightedly unquenchable? The journey to these answers starts now. One of the fun things about the way they’re doing such Metropolitan Set-Piece Events these days – the guests are invited to wear themselves out trying to steal the show. Scores of effusive, attention-grubbing nations and international organizations are piling on the Shanghai 2010 bandwagon, devising a splendid array of showpiece pavilions. The Event promises to be the most record-breaking global show-off convention since the dawn of time (and they were good, way back then). It should be fun. For Beijing’s recent MSPE, the preceding rumble of urban renewal threatened to sanitize much of the city’s character. Shanghai’s plans for 2010 – especially the controversial Bund redevelopment project – seem to reflect an inheritance of this mindset. There’s nothing wrong with a little more order, cleanliness and efficiency, surely. Let’s make everything more expensive while we’re at it. By design, Shanghai’s personality and aspirations are perfectly suited to an “Everlasting Expo.” As for the rest of the world, may the Event expose something valuable for each and every one of us. A Better Life of loud global cross-promotion is the Better City we’re building together. Love yourself. Throw a party.

Helen Couchman finally came to China in early 2006, and on day three decided to make Beijing her home. An artist from the UK, traveling has been part of her work for years. She has held residencies in Cyprus and Vermont, USA, and exhibited widely in the UK as well as in Armenia, Beijing and Hong Kong. In London in 2008 she exhibited portraits in the exhibition “China in Motion” and a series of woodblock print landscapes in the exhibition “Contemporary Chinoiserie.” That year her book of portraits, WORKERS 工人, was published in Beijing, London and Hong Kong. She will exhibit at Transition Gallery, London, in 2009. Couchman has contributed this month’s Parting Shot (p80). Coming from Finland (where they say Santa is also from), Minna Narhila searches for good people and good stories to write down and share. She has worked as a journalist both for press and television in Finland as well as abroad, with most of her stories tuned in on China. Studying Chinese in Shanghai in 2000 and living in Beijing since 2006, she appreciates the difference between these two massive cities: the rhythm. Narhila now enjoys the laid-back atmosphere of Beijing palpable in the hutongs near the Lama Temple and on the side streets of Tuanjiehu. She contributed this month’s Movement, p11. Carla Nayton came to Beijing in spring of 2008 on assignment as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, where her first taste of Chinese culture was visiting the hutong where she now works at Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center. It was love at first sight, and she now spends as much time as she can in hutongs, trying to protect this endangered species. Nayton enjoys the little things about China the most – the details on a mendun’r; hot baozi on an icy cold morning; and her neighborhood bird man, who sits next to his four birds all day and looks after them as tenderly as if they were his children. She tells Urbane about the most recent Nanluogu Xiang Creative Arts Festival for Conservational on p60.

8 Homefront 10 Ren 11 Movement 12 Scheme 14 Environmentology 16 Backspace

Gabriel Monroe Managing Editor


24 Spotlight 26 By Design 30 Most Wanted 34 Coffee Table 35 Techno 36 Top Shop

38 Reviews 40 Closeup 42 Feature


46 Concierge 48 Travels in Style 52 Teeing Off 54 Run(a)way 56 InSpa


58 Realty Bites 60 Conservational 66 Mr. Architect 67 This Courting Life

70 Directory 75 Classifieds 80 Parting Shot


Urbane december 2008

december 2008 Urbane



主管单位 Attached to 中华人民共和国新闻出版总署 Administration of Press and Publication, P.R. China 主办单位 Affiliated to 国家出版物发行数据调查中心 Sino Publication Audit Center 出版 Published by 《艺术与设计》 杂志社有限公司 Art and Design Publishing House Co. Ltd 社长兼总编 President 钱竹 Qian Zhu 主编 Chief Editor 胡小惟 Hu Xiaowei 地址:北京市西城区阜外大街34号甲四区3号 100832 Tel: (010) 6857 0934 Fax: (010) 6857 0937 国际统一刊号 ISSN 1008-2832 国内统一刊号 CN 11-3909/J

Managing Editor Gabriel Monroe Deputy Managing Editor Madeleine O’Dea Assistant Editor Belle Zhao Shanghai Editor Amy Fabris-Shi Regular Contributors Willie Anderson, Gary Bowerman, Lilly Chow, Kit Gillet, Katie Grube, Joey Guo, Shelley Jiang, Aurora Karl, Robert La Bua, Simon Lim, Bert de Muynck, Shane O’Meara, Paul Pennay, Ann Waddell Guest Contributors Chia-Li Chang, Helen Couchman, Katherine Don, Isaac Stone Fish, Jiang Gaoming, Minna Narhila, Carla Nayton, James Wasserman Art Director Designer Illustrator Visual Editor Photographer Translator Susu Luo Grace Wang Li Xing Joey Guo Judy Zhou Mandy Li

广告总代理:深度体验国际广告(北京)有限公司 Advertising Agency: Immersion International Advertising (Beijing) Co., Limited Sales Manager Claire Tang Senior Account Executives Elena Damjanoska, Ada Dong, Emma Zhuang Account Executives Lynn Cui, Sally Fang, Catherine Li, Cindy Zhang Sales Assistant Gloria Hao, Ophelia Ren, Sophia Zhou
Marketing Manager Françoise Chu

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Urbane december 2008

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