Hutong describes traditional living areas with narrow alleys in Beijing. These areas are dominated by small houses with centralized courtyard that can be shared with its neighbors. The term hutong induces an old Beijing where bicycles were abundant and industrialization was sparse. In recent years the number of hutongs has dropped dramatically. This is mainly due to the rapid growth of modernization in china, especially in Beijing. There is also a shift in the identity of the hutong in recent years. Hutong use to be identified as a local and perhaps lower to middle class neighborhood where it is considered rather messy and with a disorganized aesthetics. Since Beijing has evolved more and more into an international metropolis with a buzzling cultural scene, hutongs has been transformed into elite bars, exquisite restaurants and some of the highest class hotels in the city. This shift from the identity of everyday life within a dwelling zone to the “slickest” offerings within the same city is the inspiration for my lamp. The structure of the lamp is based on the volumetric design of streets within the hutong. The crystals represent the hutong itself and their unique spatial planning within the city grid formation. The use of crystal is also a metaphor for the role of the hutong in the present day; where it is transformed into a luxury commodity, steering far away from its intended purpose. Swarovski has always signify an image of the upmost luxury and decadence and what better way than to identify this with the “new” hutong of the 21st century. The crystal can be displaced by the observer and in this act one also represents the participation in the initiation of the hutong getting scarcer in the city. Even when the lamp structure is without any hutong crystal, it remains a unique piece of sculpture that exudes another identity; it will reveal the led lightings below with laser engraved holes designed for light transition. These openings also represent the image of night in the city. Such as lights emitting from office buildings. What the lamp is trying to convey is that while the city has continue its growth. The history is still engraved within its veins and the buildings of forgotten era have to shift their preconceived functionality in order to adapt to a new millennium. The lamp itself is entirely customizable by the user as crystals of different height and color can be adapted and a new sculpture can be created in a constant bases. I believe we will be seeing this magnitude of change with china’s past architecture in the forecoming future. It is this uncertainty that makes for a very dynamic contemporary Chinese society. I hope by understanding the ideology behind this lamp, the user will acknowledge the value of the hutong and treasure its change as a means of preserving its existence. Just like even superman respects the power of kryptonite, I am sure the hutong will exude the same power in the Chinese and global mentality.

2017 COC-design
Using Format