Contemporary Chinese “Magic Box’ comes to London Design Festival

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Movilla in front of Tower Bridge (Photo credit: @Nanjingweek instagram)

An innovative design space from Nanjing, Movilla, was open to the public from September 22nd to 25th, as part of the “Nanjing Weekend” and London Design Festival. Situated at Potters Field Park in London, the minimalistic, ultra-modern construction emerged against the backdrop of the majestic landmark, Tower Bridge, forming an iconic landscape symbolic of the creative encounter between China and the UK.

On the afternoon of September 23rd, a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the “Nanjing Weekend” was held on Potters Field Park in the presence of London deputy mayor Justine Simmons OBE, Xiang Xiaowei, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, and Xu Ning, director of the publicity department of Nanjing municipal government. Movilla, nominated as the most representative innovative design from Nanjing, was displayed next to London City’s Hall, along with the demonstration of Nanjing intangible cultural heritage for Londoners, such as the engraved block printing, a printing technique invented in ancient China.

20160926180757_207.jpgEngraved block printing technique as part of the Nanjing intangible cultural heritage demonstrated in Movilla (Photo credit: @Nanjingweek instagram)

“Movilla” means mobile, modular, modern villa, and is also known as “Magic Box” by Nanjing locals. It is designed by MIT graduate Ge Wenjun and created by his Nanjing-based startup firm Neo Design. Ge is particularly interested in the concept of Living Room and treats it as a project of contemporary art. The idea of Movilla is that, it is a living room for the Nanjing people outside their own hometown to showcase the local culture.

Ge also explained that the concept of Movilla sprang from his trip to Tibet. The hotels in Tibet charge particularly high during the peak season, so he came up with the idea of a convenient mobile house for people on journey. It is a fashionable, luxurious type of caravan mainly targeted at the hospitality industry and used for education, performance and showcase purposes.

“As an expandable mobile house, Movilla achieves the optimal effect of minimising its dimensions during transportation and and maximising the usable space.” Ge explained the concept of his design in the interview. Movilla can be expanded to three times as its folded size. Expanding or folding Movilla is a spectacle of spatial transformation, which only takes three minutes.

The construction does not require foundations and adapts to the ecology of its surroundings. No cartoon footprint is left as it is energy self-sufficient. The “V” shaped roof, similar to the rooftop design of traditional architecture in Nanjing, is specifically tailored for rainwater recycling.

In front of the London City Hall, Movilla emerged as a flying bird, symbolising an aspirational and vigorous China.

In the evenings, the surface of Movilla was transformed into a screen on which the beautiful panorama of Nanjing was projected.

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Night view of Movilla

In addition to the creative and cultural exchange events, Nanjing Week also encouraged the creative collaboration of entrepreneur representatives from China and the UK.

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2016 Nanjing Week in London (Photo credit: @Nanjingweek instagram)

The article is originally published on China Info 24 on September 26, 2016.

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