(Original language: Mandarin)
LI NAIHAN: As architects we see furniture-making as a process of building miniature architecture. I think I’m still being educated as an architect.
The CCTV Headquarters is an iconic symbol of this era. The idea was to connect two separate structures with the same volume, like two identical towers, to each other to create a loop. At that time, I was very impressed by this ‘loop’, because it’s no longer a disconnected structure which only allows vertical movement, but a loop in which continuous circulation is possible. It is like the daily task of dressing and undressing. It’s something we do repeatedly, day after day, so I thought creating a wardrobe would fit the idea.
All of the photos and drawings of the CCTV Headquarters facades are available publicly, so we got all the information from the internet. I first did the drawing by hand. I then digitised it and created numerous 1:1 models before the final work was produced.
I think this is a manifestation of our ancient practice of converting pavilions and pagodas into home decor items, except that it’s been given a contemporary theme. With this wardrobe, I want to show people that Chinese design is concerned with the present. It represents a kind of ambition of the Chinese people. Maybe ‘ambition’ sounds more neutral in English than in Chinese. It represents a very strong desire.
Architecture is a way of streamlining our thoughts. It’s a discipline about relationship-building. It teaches you how to arrange your thoughts; how to get inspired, consolidate ideas, and be organised. It is also a people-oriented experience. From building a small piece of furniture, to a house and even a city, we are indeed establishing a logical connection and an experiential relationship.
I AM A MONUMENT—CCTV Wardrobe by Li Naihan is part of her series of furniture replicas of well-known buildings—in this case, the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. The 24-hour loop of the media cycle that inspired the original building’s design has turned into a loop for the daily act of getting dressed, with specialised compartments leading you on a defined path around the wardrobe.
In this video, Li Naihan discusses the concept and design process behind I AM A MONUMENT—CCTV Wardrobe and how it reflects on traditional Chinese design ideas.
This video was originally published on M+ Stories.
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