Heading towards South East China, in the province of Hunan, we will find Liling World Ceramic Art City. A landmark in its own right, that at its inception was in the middle of nowhere, right by an unfinished highway.
The brainchild of Florentine architecture studio Archea, the complex was conceived as an ode to the region’s long tradition in pottery and vase making. How else would we be able to describe the convex or concave shaped buildings, covered in polychrome ceramic modules that resemble the hues found in the surrounding soils and porcelain white.
When stepping through the main entrance, visitors are placed into the heart of the complex. The square gives access to the three museums (one ceramic, two calligraphic), a hotel and its restaurant. Situated in the north-east, the production facility is neighboured by a sales area and luxury flats.
Transition through the various spaces is made through an underground podium. The system of pathways gives fluidity to exploration, and helps visitors get immersed with the surroundings.
As thought by the architects, density and proximity dominate the visual landscape. A homage to the way ancient Chinese cities were conceived. The mix of elements from past and future is obvious. A dialogue emerges between the guests and the structures, as curiosity takes them between buildings. A glorification of these common objects that have the same purpose as in our day to day lives, that of containers. The only difference in this case is that of scale. In this instance, the pots and vases hold people and their intrigue for beauty and novelty.
Liling World Ceramic Art City, speaks out for the craft it represents. With respect for the region’s tradition, and main natural resource (that of soil), it gives us a glimpse to the mastery of pot making’s bright future. A conversation that came out of nothing in the middle of a field, that offers an idealistic perspective on where an ancient art can take us.
Program: gate, ha hotel, hb hotel, liduo a museum, liduo b museum, ceramic museum, masterbuildings, podium, landscape, masterplan
Location: Liling, Hunan, China
Project: Masterplan, architectural, interior design for Liling World Ceramic Art City
Total Area: 210.000 sq. m
Total Built Area: 69.000 sq. m
Find more projects by Archea: www.archea.it
Words by Alin Kovacs @alin_kovacs