A fresh, hip vision of Beijing life

By China Daily ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-10-10 07:25:14

A fresh, hip vision of Beijing life

It's Beijing Time reinterpretes a typical day in Beijing in an exhibition built with Novofibre's formaldehyde-free oriented structural straw board or OSSB. Photo by Jiang Dong

As you wake up to a smoggy morning in Beijing, you can almost predict your day: the traffic jam, prolonged office hours and the 7 pm family dinner that is almost a luxury these days.

Furniture designer and curator Gao Yiqiang reinterpreted a typical day in the city with a refreshing twist by integrating furniture from four European countries in his exhibition It's Beijing Time, part of the Beijing Design Week.

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"In Beijing, we live a fixed routine everyday that sometimes we don't feel it any more. And in this exhibition we want to awaken the freshness we feel about everything by putting together furniture of unique shapes and colors," Gao says.

In Gao's vision, Beijingers wake up with a Diamantini & Domeniconi Cuckoo Clock and a bright red Roca toilet. The day is spent in the company of a few chairs including the orange Vondom outdoor dining chair and a Moroso armchair made with bespoke textiles.

Dinner is prepared with goodies from the Smeg 1950s-style refrigerator and the Lekue steam case made from platinum silicone. After a rest on a Sancal sofa, you end the day by turning off the Estiluz balloon-shaped light that transports you back to your childhood.

Visitors were invited to walk through the settings, and actually touch the furniture of a dozen brands from Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

Lingering in the exhibition area is the smell of fresh straw that comes from the settings built with Novofibre, formaldehyde-free oriented structural straw board or OSSB, panels made from pressed straw that is normally discarded.

"This is the first time that I'm using OSSB for a project of this scale. It reminds me of the magical power of crop circles with its natural beauty and nice smell," he says.

While it usually takes a long time to build an exhibition venue with artificial panels, Gao only needed two days for this project, as the panels don't require much treatment before being used.

For people who love dogs but don't have the time and space to keep one, Gao has made a OSSB dog-shaped installation to liven up the room.

The "eco-friendly" material is still quite new in China but is seeing great potential, says Christoph Binder, CEO of the German firm Novofibre.

"Millions of people in China are talking about air quality, pollution, indoor formaldehyde emissions, etc. The government is proactively advocating new materials; people are increasingly sensitive about health and environmental issues."

Gao sees it not only as material for temporary construction - he used it throughout the exhibition venue - but also for his future work in interior design.

"The future belongs to innovative and eco-friendly materials and technologies," he adds.

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