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An alternative lifestyle: OSSB at the UABB - Shekou Roundtable

April 23rd, 2016

City dwellers, walled in by blocks of reinforced concrete and commuting between home and office, long for a more simple and natural lifestyle, but often do not know where to turn.

The 6th Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB) in Shekou, Shenzhen, was on the theme, “Urban Origin”. The exhibition’s 160 exhibits attracted more than 250,000 person-time visitors. The Novofibre Oriented Structural Straw Board (OSSB) was a highlight of this year’s UABB Shekou Special Exhibition, “Shekou Roundtable 2025,” which showcased Shenzhen’s future urban culture clusters creatively, drawing a number of visitors. [Exhibition reference: http://www.szhkbiennale.org]

Reference: Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB) is currently the only biennial exhibition in the world to be based exclusively on the set themes of URBANISM AND URBANIZATION. Co-organized by the two neighboring and closely interacting cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, UABB situates itself within the regional context of the rapidly urbanizing Pearl River Delta, concerns itself with globally common urban issues, extensively communicates and interacts with the wider public, is presented using expressions of contemporary visual culture, and engages international, avant-garde dimensions as well as discourses of public interest.

The “Shekou Roundtable: 2025” showroom was located in Building 3 of the previous Shekou Dacheng Flour Factory. A limited transformation meant retaining the building’s original appearance. The roundtables, bookcases, chairs, drawing boards, stands, booths, bar counters and many other furniture in the Shekou Roundtable Showroom were made of golden Novofibre OSSB and displayed urban culture cluster concepts such as ‘Dalu Club’, ‘Urbanology Library’, and ‘Maker Space’. The original texture of OSSB brought out the best of the coarseness of the building of the flour factory and perfectly matched with the mottled interior walls, giving visitors a strong visual shock.

Jiang Jun, who curated the Shekou Roundtable Showroom exhibits, said the furniture pieces had been designed by Duoxiang Studio(architecture and interior). As an architectural design studio skilled in the application of new materials, Duoxiang explored the application of OSSB, an innovative material, to furniture, giving full play to its gorgeous apperance, structural stength and flexibility. In fact, at Shanghai World Expo 2010, Duoxiang Studio applied Novofibre OSSB in the fabrication of the internal and external walls of Vanke Pavilion’s 7 “Stacks of Wheat,” embodying concepts of environment friendliness and low-carbon footprint. This is also an experience of architecture in response to the call for energy effiency.

Wheat straw, an agricultural residue, has been turned into solid and fashionable OSSB. Favored by designers for its earthy, natural, environment-friendly, elegant, and nostalgic look, OSSB has become a fashionable icon of interior decoration while also carving a niche for itself in the furniture-making sector.

“We followed the basic principle of zero formaldehyde and ecology friendliness when selecting materials for the exhibition. We hoped to express the exhibition’s philosophy using innovative materials with a natural texture. Shekou Roundtable is not only a temporary exhibition, but also a template for Shekou and a spatial development model designed for citizens,” Jiang Jun said. “Novofibre OSSB is made of natural wheat straws and it is formaldehyde-free product. It is a sustainable material which fits into our exhibition philosophy.”

The big roundtable in the Showroom; the table, chairs, bar counter, and car seats in the communication space; and the desk and bookcase in the office space, while creating a simple and unvarnished look, also excited the imagination. Minimalist in design, the furniture is compact, smart, elegant and practical, featuring experimental exploration of material design techniques.

Since OSSB contains no formaldehyde, OSSB furniture does not release any formaldehyde. Instead, it releases a faint fragrance of wheat. Moreover, the natural texture of OSSB gives its furniture a unique charm.

As an increasing number of people long for a simple and natural life, OSSB household lifestyle will hold enough appeal to enter more and more urban families. Duoxiang Studio has explored OSSB’s innovative application to furniture, proved its feasibility, and expanded OSSB applications. By exhibiting at the UABB, an urbanism/architecture exhibition with international influence, OSSB’s application to furniture has been put under the spotlight and drawn attention from international architects and designers. It is certain to encourage more designers to attempt more innovative applications of OSSB for furniture making.

Team of the ‘Shekou Roundtable 2025’ Exhibition
Director: Jiang Jun + Zheng Yulong
Study Panel: Underline Studio + Li Hao + Nan Xueqian + Liu Shuyu + Liu Yu
Furniture and installation: Duo Xiang Studio
Graphic Design: Max Office (Zhang Shoupin + Ma Yi + Ai Ke)
programs: Jiang Jun + Ole Bouman, etc.
Sponsor: Land Use Planning and Development Department of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone


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