Own Little World
Calvin Tsao, of Tsao & McKown Architects, reinvents the traditional Chinese bed for a Sotheby's exhibit.
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 9/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
Michael Goedhuis of Goedhuis Contemporary in London wanted to bring together a group of celebrated Chinese artists to collaborate on an installation that interpreted China in relation to the world at large. Goedhuis's concept turned into reality this June with the exhibit China Without Borders at Sotheby's in New York, featuring more than 30 artists and designers including distinguished architect Calvin Tsao. New York-based Tsao was challenged, at the eleventh hour, with the task of organizing the overall exhibition architecture, as well as designing his own installation, one of five small-scale installations that centered on the concept of "living with art."
Tsao, fascinated with the Chinese bed, was inspired to create an exaggerated four-post version that became a room-within-a-room in the exhibition space. Walls of MDF board give the bed a sense of security and enclosure, as does the lit theatrical scrim used on the sides. A carved jade piece, glassware, muslin fabric, and tools for Chinese calligraphy bring worldly elements into this intimate setting. "The installation is a construction about the nature of the world; we can make our world in a very small space," says Tsao.
For the installation, Tsao teamed up with calligrapher Fung Ming Chip; the architect incorporated one of Ming's framed manifestos offering life instructions on how one should live. "In Chinese, the word 'world' also means 'life' and 'domain'," Tsao explains.