2019 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) Opens


(December 21, 2019, Shenzhen) The opening ceremony of the 8th Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen) (hereinafter referred to as "UABB") was held in Futian Railway Station at 6:00 pm on December 21, 2019. Present at the ceremony were Yang Hong, member of the Standing Committee of CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee, member of Party Leadership Group of Shenzhen Municipal Government, and director of UABB Organizing Committee; Xu Songming, deputy secretary-general of Shenzhen Municipal Government, Jersey Yuen, representative of UABB (Hong Kong) Organizing Committee and Assistant Head of CreateHK; Patrick Choi Kin Long, Chief of Department of Cultural Heritage of Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao; Wang Youpeng, director general of Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau; Huang Wei, district mayor of Futian District, the three chief curators, Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci, and representatives of consulates of Italy, France and Netherlands.


The opening ceremony began with a documentary about this session of UABB, unveiling the whole preparation and implementation process of the exhibition to the guests and audience through technology-imbued lens languages. After the documentary, the hosts extended warm welcome to the audience and introduced the guests present at the ceremony.

Chief curator Carlo Ratti was the first to deliver a speech on the theme of the "Eyes of the City" Section: when a city is able to see and perceive, what changes will we witness? Ratti believes that the biggest difference between the UABB and other biennales is that it has significantly transformed urban spaces and become a place that inspires thoughts and advances research in related fields. We need to face up to the topics and challenges in all aspects of the digital era to better understand ourselves.


Chief curator Carlo Ratti 

Chief curator Meng Jianmin said that the preparation of the exhibition was far challenging than he had expected, and that the exhibition is a result of the joint efforts of governments at all levels, the Organizing Committee, the curatorial team and numerous participants. "Urban Interactions" is a topic open to interpretation, as well as a concept and methodology of "reflecting on the present from the perspective of the future". "Ascending City" Section intends to predict, visualize and create the future from a higher level of dimension instead of in a traditional manner.


Chief curator Meng Jianmin 

Chief curator Fabio Cavallucci said that "Ascending City" Section presents a vibrant future city driven by emerging technologies, and it takes active imagination to understand the future city and future life. The Section reflects on, explores and showcases the complexity of this fascinating era from such perspectives as architecture, urban planning, art, and science fiction.


Chief curator Fabio Cavallucci

President of Politecnico di Torino Guido Saracco said that 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Sino-Italian Diplomatic Relations, and the UABB is typical cultural exchange between the two countries. For the first time, universities have played an active role in the curatorial process of the UABB. The joint efforts of South China University of Technology, Shenzhen University, South University of Science and Technology of China, Politecnico di Milano, Politecnico di Torino and members of the curatorial team have yielded amazing results.


President of Politecnico di Torino Guido Saracco 

As a lighting installation was launched jointly by Yang Hong, director of UABB Organizing Committee, Xu Songming, deputy secretary-general of Shenzhen Municipal Government, chief curators Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci, Wang Youpeng, director general of Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau, and Huang Wei, district mayor of Futian District turned on the lighting installation, Yang announced the opening of the 2019 UABB.


From left to right: Huang Wei, district mayor of Futian District; chief curators Fabio Cavallucci and Carlo Ratti; Yang Hong, director of UABB Organizing Committee; Xu Songming, deputy secretary-general of Shenzhen Municipal Government; Meng Jianmin, chief curator; Wang Youpeng, director general of Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Natural Resources Bureau

At 7:15 pm, the light show themed on "Urban Interactions" was staged in Futian CBD. The art work of light created by international and local new media artists for the UABB involves 43 buildings, lighting up the night in Shenzhen.


In the past 14 years, UABB has been implementing the concepts of innovation, openness and inclusiveness and following the principle that "a city is the exhibition venue and an exhibition is practice." Based on the context of rapid urbanization, it has always focused on cities and urbanization. From OCT-LOFT, Shenzhen Civic Square, Shekou Float Glass Factory, Former Da Cheng Flour Factory, Nantou Old Town to the two main venues and nine sub-venues located in different districts, UABB has been a catalyst in enhancing vitality of the city. As an innovative international exhibition for cultural exchange, it has been playing a critical role in making Shenzhen a "City of Design" and a "City of Creativity".

Themed on "Urban Interactions", this edition of UABB is curated by three chief curators, namely Architect and Director of MIT Senseable City Lab Carlo Ratti, CAE Academician Meng Jianmin and famous curator and art critic Fabio Cavallucci, with South China - Torino Collaboration Lab (Politecnico di Torino and South China University of Technology) acting as academic curator. The exhibition consists of two sections, namely "Eyes of the City" and "Ascending City", which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. More than 140 works in different fields and disciplines will be presented in this UABB by over 280 participants from 24 countries and regions, including MVRDV, Liam Young, Stefano Boeri, Sou Fujimoto, Thomas Heatherwick, Ryoji Ikeda, Dominique Perrault, Wang Shu, Yung Ho Chang, Yuan Feng, Liu Cixin, Academician Cui Kai, Academician Wang Jianguo, and other well-known international and domestic architects, artists and institutes. The exhibition will be open to the public for free from December 22, 2019 to March 8, 2020.

More photos at The Opening Ceremoney