Hu Quanchun’s disappearing house
Hu Quanchun, designer of Field Conforming Studio, introduced Vanished House, memorial Installation for the 2nd East Lake International Ecology sculpture Biennale in Wuhan in 2021. Located in Wuhan Shimenfeng Memorial Park, a cemetery with an atmosphere of tranquil space, the sculpture is in the shape of an ivy-covered house as a symbol of a disappearing home. In order to evoke memories, the artwork blends harmoniously with the site, creating a peaceful atmosphere suitable for mourning events.
All pictures of Jin Weiqi
a simple house type
After identifying the concept of a disappearing house to resonate with the exhibition grounds, key questions for Hu Quanchun and the Field Conforming Studio team (see more here) is what kind of house to choose. In the beginning, they considered choosing a typology with Wuhan’s architectural characteristics to express locality. But after research, they found that the city’s old buildings, especially residential buildings, do not have obvious local characteristics, and public buildings represented by Wuhan are not a reasonable choice in such an environment.
In the end, the team decided to choose the simplest image of the house. Neither places nor extra symbols are involved, just a simple house, like a child’s sketch. This form adds more simplicity and purity to the work, while the pattern of the sprawling creepers brings more sophistication.
Outline the sprawling ivy one by one
After the spatial form is determined, the designer must find a way to convey the feeling of the disappearing house through the state of the creeping tiger. To achieve this, they made a 1:10 miniature of the house out of cardboard and sketched ivy on the model to show how the plants were growing. In this way, designers can control the density and size of the vines, as well as twists, turns and joints. The process of sketching is the most emotional part of the creation, which brings distinct handicraft and painting features to the work.
After drawing the vines on the miniatures, the designer converts them into vector files. Since the final work would be done by laser engraving on Corten steel, they broke the model down into high-resolution scans, then manually converted the scanned files into vector files that could be used for laser engraving. In addition to drawing the lines one by one, the most important process is dealing with the junctions where the lines turn. All details are carefully modified until the factory starts manufacturing.
The material used for this piece is weathering steel treated with a laser cutting process. The design team chose this material for two reasons. First, the weathering steel turns a deep red when it rusts, a color that expresses the texture of creeper vines well. Second, the “disappearing house” creates a space that people can enter. Since the wall is made of ivy, it needs a certain strength to form the space without relying on other structural forms, and the two-centimeter-thick weathering steel plate provides the structural strength needed for the wall to support itself. Over time, the colour of the Corten steel sheet will darken with the sun and rain, and the intent of the work will become more and more prominent.