The Shanghai Project is an ever evolving entity, with the launch of Chapter 1 in September 2016 with Sou Fujimoto’s Envision Pavilion cater to hosting public program; Chapter 2 takes on the form of an exhibition as a central component inside the Himalayas Museum and beyond, with new chapters in the coming years under new formats.

Curated by Dr. Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the program brings together artists and researchers to propose approaches and solutions to the urgent problem of environmental and social sustainability.

With the vast amount of content generated by the Researchers through the course of a year, we hope to find new synergies that enable the flow of information from one discipline to another – yet how can we attempt to bridge the gap between specialized vocabulary of skilled practitioners in sciences, the arts and the general interests of the public audience?

COLLECTIVE’s intervention proposes a new type of museum experience through the sequencing of the artworks and an immersive exhibition design that offers new contextual narratives. A public forum, at the core of the space, is designed as a non-ticketed gathering place for all. The role of the museum is expanded from its traditional model of static displays towards an evolved interactive and open space for public discussions and workshops. New points of contact between spheres of interdisciplinary knowledge are organized through three zones: Field, Sequence, and Rooms.


FIELD, The Forum

 A 16 meter tall atrium that transverses the museum acting as a centralized connective component for the exhibition space. This will be the core of the exhibition, which will be entirely open to the public, with a multiple personalities of a gallery, an archive, a café, a workshops etc – it is a open blur between the making and the exhibiting of work.

COLLECTIVE created a series of “Elements of Ecology”, which consists of various abstracted moments of appropriated nature resonating the theme of the exhibition.

The Bleacher is a 360-degree seating that is 2.25 meter tall and with a diameter of 9 meter; it is a mountain that holds audiences to engage with events and the Forum in all directions, its tall presence creates an equilibrium with the height of the atrium space.

The Mirror is a 26 meter long and 11 m tall angled reflective surface that acts as a viewing device to create a staged overview of the 3500 m2 exhibition and movement of viewers as a whole. It absorbs the liveliness of the users and the texture of the exhibits, creating a framed landscape that changes every seconds.

The Carpet is a 26 meters by 8 meters black asphalt road that transverse the Forum diagonally starting from the entrance of the exhibition hinting as a directional indicator towards the “Extinction Path”; the asphalt strategically touches as much exhibits as possible, tying the participants with the work of the researchers together, also creating a slight tension on the visual hardness of asphalt with the touch of softness as a carpet.

These designed Elements of Ecology participate as a collective part of the interdisciplinary exhibition, acting as part of the pixelated landscape.

For Yoko Ono’s “We’re All Water”, the studio designed the enclosure of the sound installation aiming to concentrate and intensify the audio experience without it spilling away into the open atrium, while also providing a geometric presence within the atrium; together with the design of the projection device for “Doomsday Clock” by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the scaffolding for “Ever Higher, Ever Further” by Yu Hong.

SEQUENCE, The Extinction Path

Accessed via the core of the Forum, the Sequence forms a pathway on the periphery of the core, linking together a sequence of light and darkness for work relating to the topic of Extinction.

In Olafur Eliasson and Frederik Ottesen's piece “Little Sun”, the studio designed the interface for the work, letting the audience encounter a luminous grid on the ground through a sunflower field. In Gustav Metzger’s installation “Extremes Touch: Dancing Tubes, Mica Cube, Drop on Hotplate, Untitled”, the studio designed a spatial layout that generates interaction between the pieces that switches on and off alternatively as the flow of visitors come through.


ROOMS, The Floor of Documents

Hosted on the upper level of the museum and offering views down to the Forum and the Sequence, COLLECTIVE worked closely with the curators in determining a sequence through various rooms that facilitate the juxtaposition and creation of new narratives between installations and workshops. 

As works will be hosted in rooms on the upper level of the museum surrounded by a circulatory pathway, in which the audience will be able to always look down to the lower level Forum at the atrium with an overview of the exhibition.

For Liu Chuang “#14”, the studio designed the immersive viewing enclosures for the video installations with a translucent material and the 9 square viewing box for “The Future of Artificial Intelligence”, videos curated by Dr. Lee Yongwoo.


In the light of the Shanghai Project, it is a continuous research project that bridges various scientific disciples and art through the lens of future and ecology, COLLECTIVE intends to extend the vigorous nature of the research content through a dynamic spatial experience; to extend the role of a museum, from displaying to facilitating an evolutionary process of open discussions and workshops.


LOCATION: Shanghai Himalayas Museum, China

AREA: 35,000 square feet

CLIENT: Shanghai Project, Himalayas Museum

COLLECTIVE TEAM: Betty Ng, Juan Minguez, Katja Lam, Alex Yuen (Ying Zhou for Chapter 1)


Artistic Directors: Dr. Yongwoo Lee and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Shanghai Project Curatorial Team

Graphics Designer: Lu Liang ( The Exercises )


aaajiao, Adrian Hon × Chen Xi, Alessandro Bava, Bruno Latour, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Cai Guo-Qiang, Carly Fowler, COLLECTIVE, Dai Zhikang × Lin Shumin, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, Etel Adnan, Gustav Metzger, Huang Rui, Ian Cheng, Jamie Allen, Jennifer Jacquet × Sarah Schlesinger, Katja Novitskova, Ken Liu, Leonardo da Vinci × Li Naihan, Liam Gillick, Liu Chuang, Martin Guinard-Terrin, Maya Lin, Miriam Simun, òbelo, Olafur Eliasson & Frederik Ottesen, Otobong Nkanga, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Zhijie, Rem Koolhaas, Sophia Al-Maria, Stuart Kim, Thomas Hartung & David Pamies, Wang Xu, Yoko Ono, Yu Hong, Zhang Haimeng



As Seen On: Bustler / Archinect / Designboom / FRAME