Instant Hutong - a Journey through the Historical DNA of Beijing

Instant Hutong - a Journey through the Historical DNA of Beijing
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In a mega-city in constant evolution like Beijing, urban space has always been the subject and object of continuous redefinition - the ancient elements are often flanked by futuristic ones comprised of new technologies, futuristic architecture, but also spaces suspended between history, memory and new experiences. In this shift towards the future, the topography of the city of Beijing has often been shaken up just as the lives of its inhabitants have. The duo of Italian architects Marcella Campa and Stefano Avesani, longtime residents in Beijing, have documented, through the project Instant Hutong, the existence of traditional hutong, tiny streets - along which sit square-shaped homes of grey brick, typical of the Chinese tradition (siheyuan) - but also true microcosms, crossroads at the centre of “urban villages” situated in the heart of Beijing. The series Urban Carpet depicts, in map form, a maze of hutong hand-embroidered on canvas, witness of a world between past and future, as well as an homage to the work of who allowed the preservation of this human and geographical trace of the city, in part lost forever. The love of culture implicit to the world of the hutong can also be found in Theory of Moments, an assemblage in installation form which uses various materials and objects found on the sites of demolished homes or building sites. A catalogue which documents and preserves memory but also a source of inspiration for this duo of architects.

Manuela Lietti - © 2022 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Beijing
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