Light and Forma Fantasia: two new installations by Ma Yansong | MAD Architects

by Archilovers
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Recognized for its future-focused, technologically advanced designs, MAD architects also has a robust and visionary artistic practice. Grounded in founder Ma Yansong’s creative philosophy of Shanshui City, which focuses on humanity’s spiritual sanctuary in the natural world, the firm’s art spans site-specific commissions, permanent installations, objects, exhibitions, and immersive environments.

This summer, Ma unveiled two new works in “Art at FULIANG 2021”, an art festival in Jingdezhen, and Nine-Tiered Pagoda – Spatial and Visual Magic at The Pingshan Art Museum.


Photo ©Tian Fangfang

Building on Ma’s central mission of creating harmonious experiences that connect the individual, the urban environment, and nature, Ma's art is transportive and reflective, proposing reconsidered experiences and alternate futures. His work, Hutong Bubble 218, 2008-9, presents his proposal for the urban reactivation of Beijing.


Photo ©Tian Fangfang

The Hutong is a traditional Chinese courtyard residence, common throughout cities in northern China. In Hutong Bubbles , Ma demonstrates how small-scale artistic interventions can reactivate a community, create spaces for collaboration, and preserve the historic fabric of the city.

Tunnel of Light is another significant example of Ma’s belief in the power of artistic intervention and historic revitalization to reinvigorate a community.


Photo ©Nacasa&Partners

For the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Trienniale, Ma transformed the Kiyotsu Gorge Tunnel, a historic 750-meter (roughly a half-mile) passageway cut through rock formations to frame panoramic views of one of Japan’s three great chasms. Located in the heart of Japan’s snow country, Echigo-Tsumari is experiencing population decline as many relocate to urban centers for work or education. To reconnect residents with the beauty of the natural landscape, Ma created five spaces within the tunnel, drawing on the five elements of nature (wood, earth, metal, fire, and water) and inviting relaxation, contemplation, and introspection.

This summer, Ma unveiled two new works that build on this tradition:

Light is a new, ongoing installation commissioned for “Art at FULIANG 2021”.

Photo ©Tian Fangfang


Photo ©Tian Fangfang


The festival aims to highlight the character and charm of Hanxi Village in Fuliang County. The region’s porcelain industry, abundant water, and vast tea fields have shaped its landscape. Light appears to float above the rolling tea fields, hovering above the landscape. The installation becomes a medium for connecting to nature as it responds to the surrounding light and darkness, appearing to float like a cloud, become translucent, glow like a beacon, or join forms with the passing fog.

In addition, Ma created the exhibition design for Forma Fantasia, artist Liu Wei’s installation within Nine-Tiered Pagoda – Spatial and Visual Magic, a cross-disciplinary collaboration between nine groups of artists, architects, and graphic designers, on view at The Pingshan Art Museum in Shenzen through October. For Forma Fantasia ’s exhibition design, Ma united Liu Wei’s scattered abstract shapes within a black, shadowless room absent of defining characteristics other than bright lights that amplify the space’s ambiguity. The dazzling lights heighten emotions and sensations, building on MAD’s anti-material approach that prioritizes spatial feeling over structural expression.


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Cover photo ©Tian Fangfang

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    References
    Hutong Bubble 218 38

    Hutong Bubble 218

    Beijing / China / 2019

    Tunnel of Light 58

    Tunnel of Light

    Japan / 2018