Projects > Hongtao Zhou in 2019 Venice Biennale


Hongtao Zhou and TONTSEN DESIGN collaborate in European Cultural Centre Exhibition for 2019 Venice Biennale

Invited by European Cultural Centre and Venice Design, an installation is open at the Venice Biennale featuring the work by Hongtao ZHOU, Fang QI, Abaiyi-AKEBAI and Lianglu HOU, collaborated by Shanghai TONTSEN Design and Tongji University College of Design and Innovation (D&I). The installation "Textscape-TONTSEN Eye" and "Cloud of Measurement" presented by Venice Design is a satellite exhibition during the 2019 Venice Biennale of Art in the historical building Palazzo Michiel. The show includes work of leading artists, designers, architects, photographers and universities from around the world, such as Royal College of Art.

TONTSEN Eye is a large-scale Textscape comprised of industrial steel representing a cityscape of Shanghai using text as a platform, demonstrating a rapidly growing urban city in China. The text describes the history of TONTSEN Architects, whose mission is to create innovative and thoughtful designs in urban planning, architecture and construction design. Together, the cityscape of Shanghai with the text comments on the rapid urban development and its effects on the skyline and surrounding natural environment. It prompts the viewer to consider the significant ramifications of such fast-paced development to the earth’s ecology and sustainability, inviting the viewer to pause, consider, and reflect. The sculpture questions what ways we may collaborate and find effective solutions to reach a balance between industrial development and ecological sustainability during this dynamic time.
Above the Eye is the Cloud of Measurement, an installation that represents a cloud of twisted rulers, makes reference to both its function as a measurement tool, as well as a metaphor for measuring scores ineducation. The Cloud is comprised of twisted triangular plates created by using extreme heat by students who have recently completed their exams. A parallel may be drawn between the release students’ emotions after their intense examinations and the release of their creativity via the transformation of a rigid object into a fluid form, presenting a symbol for a nonlinear measurement for creativity. Collectively, these twisted rulers form a cloud-like shape which makes a comment about their ‘twisted’, convoluted educational system, critiquing their school life, and prompting change and action. Together, the Eye is sailing through the ocean underneath the Cloud to search for solutions for the unknown future.

The exhibition invites participants to read and explore these three-dimensional texts and measurements, to think critically and reflect internally about the messages. The Textscape art form was firstly created by Hongtao Zhou to employ 3D printing technology to create a hybrid of text and sculpture, manipulating the text to form cityscapes of dense urban metropolises such as Venice, Shanghai, and New York. The text functions as legible maps, visually echoing the realistic skyline as well as describing the cities’ demographic data, and calling attention to the notions of space and/or lack thereof. It also reminds the audience of "printing", originally from woodblock method in ancient China to create dialogue between the past and future technology.
"Eye and Cloud" is installed at the central gallery in the historic Palazzo Michiel. Its intense verbal and visual languages showcase the firm's interdisciplinary design methodology, with contributions from TONTSEN's design teams and artists around the world, indicating its strength; efficiency, effectiveness, simplicity, social awareness and sustainability.
Participating Artists: Hongtao ZHOU, Fang QI, Abaiyi-AKEBAI, Lianglu HOU , Yumei QI, Kewei FENG, Jiabao ZHU, Xiaotong ZHANG, Hongliang WANG, Guoyi ZHOU, Marcos Cruz Ortiz, Candace HUEY, Wenjie Dai

TONTSEN: Textscape-TONTSEN Eye + Cloud of Measurement
May 11 - November 24, 2019
Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.; Closed on Tuesdays
Palazzo Michiel, European Cultural Centre
30121 Venice, Italy

Principle Sponsors:
TONTSEN Architects, Shanghai, China
Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation (D&I), Shanghai, China
China National Art Fund

Leading Edge Global Education
Shanghai SUJING Sculpture Art Co.Ltd
Shanghai Summit Discipline in Design
Tongji University Shanghai Institute of Design and Innovation
Hongtaozhou Studio


TONTSEN Eye and Cloud of Measurement Installation
TONTSEN Eye Side Perspective with Professor Hongtao ZHOU
TONTSEN Eye front perspective with DR. Fang QI
TONTSEN Eye Detail in Water
Cloud of Measurement Section
Cloud of Measurement Details