MAD architecture studio-founder Ma Yansong‘s reveals his thoughts about the connection between art and architecture.

Yansong‘s latest work, Light, is on a smaller scale than the ambitious architecture projects that his studio is well-known for.

Light artwork by Ma Yansong

The installation is an undulating lightweight steel structure clad in translucent fabric that shields a small copse of trees on top of a hill in a tea field near Hanxi Village.

The architect was inspired by the surrounding nature when he created the sculptural artwork, which is part of the Art at Fuliang 2021 festival.

“We looked at those mountains and the villages and we chose this spot on the hilltop of this tea field,” Yansong told.

“And then we proposed our piece, Light – of the earth actually, because it’s connected to the whole tea-field mountain.”

Lightweight steel structure encased in fabric

During the daytime, the see-through fabric creates a sculptural encasing for the trees in the field, while at night the artwork is lit up like a lantern.

“There are several tea fields around the villages and I thought they were half-nature, half-manmade,” Yansong said.

“You see those ambulating contour lines around the mountain and they were so beautiful. There were a couple of trees on the hilltop and they felt like a sculpture themselves.”

“What we did was to propose this fabric around those trees so they look like they’re floating,” he added. “We basically turned the whole hill into a light installation.”

The Light installation at Art at Fuliang

The installation is functional as well as decorative – it also works as a pavilion where people who visit the rural art festival can sit in the shade of the trees.

Yansong explained an artwork felt like a more appropriate addition to the village than a piece of modern architecture would have.

“There are many architecture activities around those villages too and we were actually more hesitant to do architecture there than art,” Yansong said.

“I think sometimes the most beautiful villages are beautiful because there is also some traditional architecture to form this overall image.”

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The piece is set to remain in the village after the end of the festival, which Yansong believes will help form a bridge between the traditional village architecture and contemporary forms.

“The art is an interesting way to create this dialogue between the contemporary and the past,” Yansong said.

Artwork on top of a hill in Hanxi. China

“When you create art in the natural environment, it’s very similar to doing architecture, because you do something artificial but you have to deal with the natural environment – you have to build up a dialogue between the man-made and nature.”

“Together with nature, the artificial language can bring something new, dramatic or spiritual to its location,” he continued.

“I think architecture can also do that sometimes – bring emotion or quality to a certain place, Yansong completed.


And you? What do you think about Ma Yansong new artwork? Leave a comment below!

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