Yuntai Ice Chrysanthemum Display Shelves / LUO Studio
Yuntai Ice Chrysanthemum Display Shelves / LUO Studio
Agricultural products fair to support the revitalization of rural industries
2021 marks a new chapter in China’s Rural Revitalization Initiative. As industries take the lead in rural revitalization, quality agricultural products and better ways of presenting them are essential. This is quite true for Houyanmen Village in Huanfeng Town, Xiuwu County. The Yuntai Ice Chrysanthemum industrial park in the village needed an exhibition space to display its ice chrysanthemum products (a species of medicinal chrysanthemum), and the operator believed that what the products needed was just a place. of moderate size. Therefore, they commissioned a familiar steel structure maker to build a space with steel portal frames at a very fast speed, to serve product display and live sales activities. These steel gantries reproduced the structures of other factories in the industrial park. The operator thought the space was ready for use once the furniture was installed.
Exposure is a critical step in advertising and marketing. The current sales channels of the industrial park mainly include tour groups, franchisees and direct marketing. No matter which way, a characteristic space to present the products is essential. A space integrating the exhibition function with the unique characteristics of the products can provide people with a more tangible experience, in order to more effectively communicate the products, stimulate consumption, and promote the development of the industry.
Low cost achieved by light and common materials and techniques
Capital for industries in rural areas is very valuable, as various factors could affect production and marketing, and furthermore lead to loss of income. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, sales of local ice chrysanthemum products by tourist groups have been cut short, and the village’s ice chrysanthemum planting area has suffered a severe drop in production due to flooding in This year. Taking all aspects into account, studio LUO tried to create an existing space efficient display frame at minimum cost, which was the key design principle. To this end, affordable and readily available materials, as well as simple techniques (which did not require special equipment or experienced craftsmen) easily accessible to local villagers were applied.
After a thorough analysis, the studio LUO chose a type of thin wood panels with a high recovery rate of wood as the main building material. Manufactured by a local lumber factory, the panels have a section dimension of 60mm * 10mm and can be easily moved and assembled by hand. By properly bending the thin wood panels and then connecting them to the nodes using the existing portal steel frames, a natural and vernacular spatial atmosphere was generated.
Straight steel structure and thin curved panels, and wooden elements as furniture
The bending of thin panels obtains stresses which improve structural stability. Each wood panel element with a different curvature is a “curved” constraint unit. The “arched” units anchor each other with the lower ends reaching the displays. Therefore, the physical structure of these elements is also the form of force transmission. It is a structural element and also a functional component of exhibition furniture. The display module adapts to different sizes of agricultural products, and the structural components also function as displays. The wooden elements are extended and “suspended” under the steel porticoes, creating a natural atmosphere in the existing space.
The short section of each single portal steel frame is 15m long and 6.5m high. Through careful sectional-scale assessment, three sets of exhibition shelves are placed under the steel frames and four passageways are laid out (each approximately 3.2m in net width) to ensure that ‘in no case will the place be overcrowded.
“Corrected” drawing deviations during on-site construction
Before the design drawings were completed, continuous bending tests were carried out on simple thin wood panels, and in this way, the design team obtained the relevant technical parameters regarding the curvature. However, during the construction process, due to numerous overlays of bar elements, varying curvature of different sections of the display system, and uneven distribution of the scab of different batches of timer materials, there were discrepancies between the design drawings and the actual workmanship. In order to proceed with the construction more efficiently and to ensure the maximum use of common materials, the design team decided to take the drawings as a reference to control the shape and manner of organizing the structures, and asked the workers to perform repeated tests on site. so as to obtain the final and most suitable curvature of each section of the entire timber system. Then the results were reviewed and incorporated into the design drawings, as a basis for inferring and modifying other hardware components and connection nodes.
From industrial ‘steel structures’ to handmade ‘woven wood shelves’
The existing industrial-style steel structure space was cool and mechanical, which is obviously contrary to the ideas of ecology, green and naturalness that agricultural products are meant to convey. In view of this fact, thin wooden panels were selected to build the exhibition decor and were presented in a way that simulated rural hand-weaving crafts (agricultural tools). The ‘wooden braided’ displays reveal a handcrafted feel and differentiated diversity of industrial manufacturing, and transmit the warmth of each piece of ice chrysanthemum, which is picked, sorted, dried and cooked manually by the villagers.
The architecture supporting rural industries, on the one hand, has something in common with industrial buildings, as both have to take into account the efficiency of the production process. On the other hand, it differs from industrial buildings because it must take into account the rural context. In designing the Yuntai Ice Chrysanthemum Industrial Park exhibition space, studio LUO intended to develop a type of rural industry exhibition space that showcases common low-budget green building materials and controllable construction techniques for the villagers, thus revealing a sense of nature, ecology and vernacular feeling. This project is a new start in aesthetic creation for industrial buildings in Houyanmen Village, Xiuwu County.