White Upland designed by Wutopia Lab is at the intersection of art, architecture, landscape architecture and lighting innovations
When approached with the task of designing the welcoming stage of a sales centre, Chinese architectural firm Wutopia responded with a design that’s no less than a surreal garden that combines architecture, landscape, lighting, and art installation, where people around this neighbourhood, as well as people from Huzhou could come to enjoy. Yu Ting, Founder, Wutopia Lab used this opportunity to create an “anti-generic” city. Lead architect Yu Ting wanted to break away from the architecture of the so-called modern cities.
The dream-like was inspired by Yu Ting’s daughter, Tangtang’s dream. Forest is one of the most frequent elements in Tangtang’s dream. Ting used 108 white steel columns in three sizes to form this abstract forest. He then filled this surreal world with different landscapes, such as caves, hills, streams, rocks, highlands, waterfalls and theatres in the woods. Adding to the dreamlike ambience, the architect incorporated natural elements and sensations—such as mist, mini-waterfalls, pockets of sand, a selection of regional trees and rocks, and even a bonfire pit—among the artifices.Instead of changing the façade of the sales center, he chose to cover it with his design. White Upland stands in stark contrast to the original sales centre.
In a rather philosophical take on the design, Ting says, “Life is a series of obstacles and challenges. Only within the storm, people could deeply perceive the most important meaning of life. Therefore, if there is one place, where people could escape from the reality, forget the pain and pressure that time brings us physically and mentally, it must be in the dreams. Yes, people need daydreams, and daydreaming is anti-generic.”
The enchanting journey begins with the ink garden made of black mountain stones surrounded by 16 maple trees. One then passes through a blue metallic pavilion, before entering the white forest, providing a moment of reflection before one enters the white forest. On the other side of this pavilion is a large, almost entirely-white area interspersed with a zillion white trees in various heights and sizes, White Upland coaxes the visitor to meander aimlessly, soak in the multi-sensorial experience and break away from reality, even if it is just for a moment.