Testbed 2 Party & Exhibition at Chongqing, China

You must have fun, because if you don’t all of this is for nothing.” said Prof. William Alsop at the opening of his art and architectural exhibition Printing Documenta on 20.05.2016 in Chongqing, a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities in China. The exhibition opening was well attended, by citizens of Chongqing, important clients of the aLL Design studio, and by governmental representatives. They each had the opportunity to observe and sense the beauty of the art and architecture which Prof. Alsop has been creating for more than three decades. World-known architect, Professor William Alsop OBE RA, director of aLL Design was present at the opening together with Marcos Rosello and George Wade, aLL Design directors and co-founders and Weitao Li, director of aLL Design in Chongqing.

The exhibition was organised by aLL Design Chongqing and opened by Tina Redshaw, British Consul-General in Chongqing. In her speech, Ms. Redshaw mentioned the importance of aLL Design’s presence in Chongqing and in China. She shared her sympathies about art and architecture and mentioned aLL Design as a creative office with lots of potential. This introduction was followed by Prof. Alsop, who shared his thoughts with and warmly welcomed guests. He highlighted some current problems in Chinese architecture and posed some effective solutions. He suggested that rapid development is often the cause of these problems, as old buildings are destroyed in the process, thus the existing quality is also destroyed, rather than preserved as a potential starting point. “We don’t have to destroy. We must find a way to use what we have and regenerate it to create better things in the present.” said Prof. Alsop.

After the speeches refreshments of tea, wine, cakes and seasonal fruits were provided by the Hotel Intercontinental, Chongqing. The atmosphere was delightful and visitors were invited to view varied literature documenting previous projects; photographs, paintings, a multimedia installation, and many of Alsop’s design sketches. Collecting and exhibiting such work is crucial as historic reference. It is a way of respecting past design work whilst contextualising current projects and methodology. Prof. Alsop also practices as an artist and at the entrance to the exhibition is a vivid collection of his paintings. A model of the Chongqing studio is also on display together with a booklet describing Testbed2, a primary example of the retention and reinvigoration of existing structures. Testbed2, Chongqing succeeds Testbed1 in London. The second Testbed is located at No.1 Elingzheng Street in the Yuzhong District of Chongqing. Formerly an abandoned money-printing works, aLL Design recognised its unique qualities and designed its transformation. Prof. Alsop and his team began work on the building in 2013 and the aLL Design Chongqing team have recently moved into their new China Headquarters on the same site. Testbed2 is fast becoming a cultural campus for a variety of creative businesses and the community is rapidly growing.

The evening’s highlight was the collective painting. To be more precise, visitors of the exhibition had the opportunity to experience the medium and process of painting first-hand. The vibrant artwork is sited at the end of the exhibition on a huge wall.  It is a picture that will never be complete, it hangs in the studio waiting for the next passing visitor to make her mark upon it.

*presented pictures in this article are exclusive property of aLL Design ( ). The pictures may only be copied, printed or shared with ownership credits.

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aLL Design Chongqing’s intern, Robert Tomic, retells of our Testbed 2 party & exhibition in China.