LUO Studio creates a recyclable exhibition space at PSA Shanghai

LUO studio,

Jin Weiqi,




Exhibition, riciclo, reuse, waste,

Chinese studio LUO used cardboard to create an exhibition space at Shanghai’s PSA Museum. The project seeks to prevent waste of materials during temporary exhibitions, in accordance with the golden rule of ecology: "reduce, reuse and recycle“, and installation itself forms an integral part of the exhibition.

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LUO Studio creates a recyclable exhibition space at PSA Shanghai
Temporary events such as exhibitions and trade fairs consume a lot of energy and materials. At a time when reduction of waste is of key importance for environmental and financial sustainability, coming up with solutions combining high visual impact with low environmental impact is of key importance in event management. In general, much more attention is paid to the work before the exhibition, rather than what happens afterwards. Exhibition space is often temporary, with a short lifespan, and the exhibition installation period between opening and dismantling is also extremely short.
This is not the first time we have presented a project by a Chinese studio of this type. LUO Studio, founded by Luo Yujie, has come up with a sustainable installation for „Back to the FUTURE: Breaking the Time Barrier“, an exhibition curated by ZUO Jing & WANG Yanzhi at Power Station of Art (PSA), the first state-run museum of contemporary art in continental China and home to the Shanghai Biennale. The event will be held in the context of "Art of Craft", the first season in the "Next Cultural Producer“ programme of parallel exhibitions at exhibition hall 2F at the PSA from 5 November 2022 until 5 February 2023. In this context, the two curators appointed LUO Studio to design an exhibition space that demonstrates how the concept of "natural building" can be applied to exhibitions and to contemporary life in general by creating a special exhibition system.
The architects started out by analysing the materials traditionally used, classic plasterboard panels joined by metal elements, in order to come up with an alternative solution that would be easy to install and dismantle but pleasant to look at. All while taking into account the available space, a rectangular area measuring about 40 m long, 16.5 m wide and 6 m high, totalling 661 square metres, with a row of concrete columns set 7.4 metres apart in the middle of the room, establishing its rhythm. The columns, which bear traces of the many exhibitions that have been held in the spaces, become the key elements characterising LUO’s design, as the exhibition walls radiate out in an X shape from the centre of each column. To overcome the limitations posed by conventional panels, the designers opted for corrugated cardboard, widely recognised as a highly reusable and recyclable material. As it is particularly lightweight, the material is also convenient to process, handle, transport and assemble. Added to these benefits is the fact that the consistency and colour of corrugated card are perfectly suited to the overall theme of the exhibition and the features of the items on display.
The designers quickly completed the installation using the "mortise and tenon“ assembly technique, adding a number of special structural components to incorporate LCD screens, ipads, mp3 readers and earphones as well as physical objects such as books and woodblock print templates. At the end of the exhibition, in March 2023, the cardboard elements may be reused for other exhibition events or as packaging, or they may be recycled. LUO’s proposal elegantly combines sustainability, practicality and beauty, clearly visible in the pictures, minimising the environmental impact of temporary events.

Christiane Bürklein

Exhibition space design: LUO studio
Spatial design & construction instruction: LUO Yujie, Lu Zhuojian, Wang Beilei, Hong Lun, Liang Jiahui
Curators: Zuo Jing, Wang Yanzhi
Visual design: He Jianping
Location: Shanghai, China
Year: 2022
Images: Jin Weiqi