There is always a reason if I am not posting on Design Hotpot. As the 2014 Beijing Design Week came closer I have been incredibly busy in managing the project for “66 meters Under” or “海拔66米” [from now on just ’66mU’]. 66mU is an installation organized by IYNED, a waterfront, yacht and marina design company with ties to Tsinghua University. According to a research done by National Geographic, If All The Ice-Melted, There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58 raising the sea level 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas. Rising ocean water would flood China’s most economically developed region of more than one million square kilometers with a population of over 600 million. In fact 66mU was designed to be a big online and offline interactive art work, slightly experimental for China, that offered a rich visual feast for visitors to 2014 BJDW and 798 Art Zone in the hope to rise awareness to such problems.
As I said in my article about the struggles of the BJDW, Chinese design firms of any kind are not much in need of promotion, and on the top of that the whole design week has encountered difficulties in connecting the event itself with the very diversified and huge Chinese social networks scene, making the participation to the Design Week even less attempting for them. Things are changing fast, with more and more companies realizing they cannot simply rely on their guanxi anymore, and at the same that if they want to promote their products or services they cannot avoid to put the internet at the center of their marketing strategy. 66mU tried to swim against the tide and connect design business with social marketing.
What 66m does is to foster an interaction on different layers, both online and offline between the visitors and a huge floating surface consisting of 3500 helium balloons. Visitors that come to 751 D-Park to see the exhibitions for the 2014 BJDW could spot this surface while it constantly simulated the waves of the ocean. Twenty electric engines controlled the movement of the 18*24 meters surface. Other than simulating ocean’s waves the whole surface slowly rose up to 66 meters from the sea-level in the seven days of the exhibition. A Wechat game [actually a website designed to feel like a simple game mobile app] encourages users to pick up ocean plastic trash while paying attention not to pick up marine life. The final score affected the movement of the balloons surface by slowing down its rising speed. Beside this installation there was a white box surrounded by walls made of plastic bottles. Visitors were encouraged to pick up the water and throw the empty bottles through a hole in the white box. After a bottle was thrown a mechanical system provided by NANOboy would melt the plastic into a filament suitable for 3D printing, and a 3D printer would print out a small gift. [The whole system is better explained by the graphic below]
The final achievement is the result of the management work done by IYNED. Different entities were involved for the provision and installation of the balloons and the net, for the white structure housing the 3D printing system,for the coding of the Wechat game/website, the assembling and installation of the engines beneath the wooden planks flooring at the twenty control-points, for the lighting, and for the 3D printing system. Beijing Normal University and Tsinghua University supported the whole event, especially in the organizing of the TEDx plus “Floating life” series of speeches. Since I’ve been at the center of this process, from the design to the realization, I’m once again begging your forgiveness for not having updated Design Hotpot in the past few weeks. Peace.
More about the event: