“The Diameter Narrative Design (DND) team is always dedicated to exploring the potential for exhibitions in various spaces and has written cultural stories in museums, art galleries, communities, ancient villages, and other settings. Each of them poses new challenges for creativity, while the RAIL IN project is an unprecedented opportunity for us. Thank RAIL IN for giving the team a chance to take its first step in the commercial space.” -- Degeng Li
展厅远景视图 Gallery Exterior Perspective©TAL
作为深圳湾超级总部基地的首发商业，睿印 RAIL IN 以服务市民高品质出行和生活为出发点，致力于为湾区生活圈打造中央活力“枢纽”。在深超总首个商业综合体建成之际，直径叙事受深铁集团与万科集团的邀请，负责睿印开幕季展览的整体策划。
As the first commercial complex at the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base, RAIL IN, taking improving people's travel and life quality as the starting point, is committed to building a vibrant “hub” in the Bay Area community. Before RAIL IN’s completion, the DND was invited by Shenzhen Metro Group and Vanke Group to oversee the overall planning of the exhibition for the opening season of RAIL IN.
展厅外立面Gallery Façade ©TAL
With Shenzhen as the “Super Protagonist”, the team has launched the thematic curatorial season “Super Storyboards” to offer diverse perspectives on the city. The exhibition contains three parts: “Nature and Humanity", “History and Future”, and “Diverse Culture", highlighting the city’s inclusiveness and vitality. Located on the first floor of RAIL IN, the exhibition combines “themed halls” and “art galleries”, inviting visitors to discover Shenzhen culture.
Nature and Humanity--Themed Hall “A Symphony of Mountains and Sea” and “A Chorus of Life”
The giant “mountain” structure in this storyboard is inspired by the rolling hills in Shenzhen. It is eye-catching on the outside and immersive on the inside. Divided into two areas, the “mountain” section provides brand-new and diverse perspectives on Shenzhen,telling stories of Shenzhen life through a montage of videos.
展厅正立面Gallery Elevation 直径叙事
“The exhibition ‘A Symphony of Mountains and Sea’ and ‘A Chorus of Life’ are located at the core area of the shopping mall’s main entrance, and it is what visitors see first. But why did we place the red structure outside the shopping mall? Usually, exhibitions don't require an exterior design because they are located inside certain buildings. However, traditional exhibitions’ quiet and classical vibe does not fit in with the busy and bustling environment of shopping malls. So, we attempted to create a more active, eye-catching, and even exaggerated exterior design to better integrate the exhibition into the commercial space‘s atmosphere.”
展厅轴测图 Axonometric Drawing 直径叙事
“山海城市·生命共鸣”“A Symphony of Mountains and Sea and A Chorus of Life” ©TAL
The area “A Symphony of Mountains and Sea” showcases the natural environment and landform changes of Shenzhen from a macro angle. If you stand on the “Observation Deck” platform inside through the ramp, you can look out over the natural landscape of Shenzhen. The three videos on the platform present Shenzhen’s land, sea, and wetland environment from the perspective of the self-narrator, while the videos on the walls and ground form a “panoramic view” of the city. Through the two observation windows on the ramp, visitors will catch a glimpse of the geographical evolution of the Pearl River Estuary over the past hundreds of millions of years and the movement of the coastline at the Shenzhen Bay with a bird’s-eye view.
“山海城市”展区分析图“A Symphony of Mountains and Sea” Diagram 直径叙事
“山海城市”展区“A Symphony of Mountains and Sea” ©TAL
The area “A Chorus of Life”, on the other hand, zooms in on the harmonious coexistence of all creatures in Shenzhen. Here, you can witness the “balance of life”, with Shenzhen people on one end and its animals and plants on the other. The videos showcase many vibrant scenes in the city, such as labor, predation, inheritance, and species reproduction. Both sides enjoy a beautiful life in the city and together form the “Shenzhen community of lives”. These moments are captured in small “bubbles”. By touching these flashing “bubbles” and seeing the balance tilt, visitors can feel the resonance of these lives and the delicate relationship between human beings and nature.
“生命共鸣”展区分析图“A Chorus of Life ”Diagram 直径叙事
“生命共鸣”展区“A Chorus of Life ”©TAL
“生命共鸣”视频截图“A Chorus of Life” Video Screenshot©直径叙事
“When strolling through the shopping mall, people will experience many scene switches, while the exhibition is only a part of shopping. Therefore, exhibitions in commercial spaces should not be too commanding or complex, but rather more relaxed and enjoyable. An exhibition in a commercial space is like a tourist attraction within a shopping mall, so it is natural for people to take perfect social media shots at a popular mall.”
“去听大自然的悄悄话吧”分析图“Listen to the Whisper of Nature” Diagram 直径叙事
“去听大自然的悄悄话吧”“Listen to the Whisper of Nature” ©TAL
History and Future--Themed Hall “IN/OUT: Wandering in Shenzhen”
The CABLE team was invited to curate and design the storyboard “History and Future”. At the entrance of the exhibition, visitors can see the space divided into two different areas, colored black and white. By briefly disconnecting from reality, visitors will immerse themselves in the memories of the city’s past and the imagination of its future.
“ IN/OUT：深圳都市漫游”“IN/OUT: Wandering in Shenzhen” 直角建筑摄影
The black area “IN Beneath the Surface” is based on the “Urban Drifting” project created by the Handshake 302 team and the School of Architecture, Harbin Institute of Technology. The area showcases historic images and tours of the early construction areas in Shenzhen. A selection of places in the city is displayed on the left wall. Visitors can also listen to humanistic stories on the radio from corresponding tapes. Moving on to the video area, visitors can lie down and learn the complete story through the ceiling screen above. The area provides visitors with a unique lens to understand the history and legacy of Shenzhen over the past forty years.
“IN 表象之下”展区“IN Beneath the Surface” 直角建筑摄影
The white area “OUT Above the Future” is based on the project “META-SHENZHEN” conducted by Urban Planning & Design Institute of Shenzhen (UPDIS). A future parallel world is created that breaks boundaries and connects the virtual and the real. Visitors can look into the black space from different heights, and different lights and images of the city’s typical scenes are presented with infrared sensing. Visitors can also play as virtual characters, experiencing weightlessness in Mangrove Bay and Liuxian Cave and enjoying a virtual cloud travel through the grass and trees on both sides of Shennan Road. This offers a brand-new way to interact with a city in the future.
“OUT 未来之上展区”“OUT Above the Future” 直角建筑摄影
Diverse Culture -- Art Gallery “Cultural Diversity in Shenzhen”
The “Diverse Culture” storyboard consists of five art galleries on the first floor, showcasing Shenzhen culture from various perspectives. As these galleries are juxtaposed with shops in the commercial space, we used bright colors and rough installations to create strong contrast and visual tension, seamlessly integrating the cultural galleries into the commercial space.
多元文化分镜Diverse Culture 直角建筑摄影
“Exhibitions in commercial spaces differ from the overly traditional ones in museums and galleries, and the mindset of people visiting shopping malls differs from those visiting museums. People visit museums to learn more, while they go to shopping malls to relax. Although it’s great to gain knowledge and inspiration in a mall, it’s not the primary purpose. Therefore, when integrating cultural elements into commercial spaces, we need to strike a balance between cultural significance and commercial functionality.”
The “Tracing History” gallery presents local languages in three windows to showcase regional diversity, including: “The Capital of Eastern Guangdong” which illustrates the evolution of Shenzhen’s administrative districts; “Amazing Coast Defense” which shows the development of the maritime military; “The Story of Salt” which provides insights into the economics and trade of ancient Shenzhen. Through a panoramic film showcasing Shenzhen’s representative salt industry, administrative zones, and historical coast defense sites, visitors can explore the connection between the city’s past and present.
“历史寻踪”展廊“Tracing History ”Gallery©TAL
The “City at Present” gallery showcases various facets of the city, including: “Revive! The Ancient Town” which narrates the story of Nantou Ancient Town where traditional Lingnan culture meets modern urban civilization; “Art on the Assembly Line” which portrays Dafen Village, known for producing replicas of Western oil paintings; “Innovation is My Power” which focuses on the high-tech zone where technological innovations thrive; and “Gratitude to Mangrove” which provides an overview of the mangrove forest and its invaluable biological resources. Through these exhibits, visitors can gain a fresh perspective on the present-day Shenzhen.
“城市当下”展廊“City at Present ”Gallery©TAL
The “Ocean Culture” gallery presents fascinating ocean stories of people in Shenzhen, including: “Mazu, Please Bless Me” which delves into oceanic beliefs; “The Great Exchange” which focuses on maritime trade culture; “My Boat, My Home” which tells the story of how the Tanka, or boat people, live with the sea; “Where Do I Come From?” which reflects on the changing dynamics of nations at the Pearl River Estuary; “Remember to Go Home Often” which presents the tales of Chinese people traveling abroad and returning to find their families. Through these narratives, visitors can experience the humanistic spirit and unique maritime culture of Shenzhen.
“海洋文化”展廊“Ocean Culture” Gallery©TAL
The “Born to the Sea: Coast Changes in Shenzhen” gallery, designed by the CABLE team, showcases the interdependence of Shenzhen’s urban development and coastline over the past 40 years through interesting illustrations. Visitors can see how the coastline has expanded over the years. The western coastal area, central bay area, and eastern coastal area are presented from left to right on the glass, with practices in these areas also displayed, including urban construction, the harmony between urban core construction and natural resources, and the ecological protection of marine life.
“向海而生：深圳海岸变迁展廊”“Born to the Sea: Coast Changes in Shenzhen Gallery”©直角建筑摄影
The “Future City Manual”, jointly created by Tencent Research Institute and DDH Studio, sheds light on WeCityX, Tencent’s future city exploration program, which aims to reflect and explore how technology will influence and change the way cities are planned, built, operated, and governed. Visitors are invited to experience the future city as if they were reading a travel guide. The gallery is like a moving subway taking viewers on a journey into their imagination.
“未来城市说明书”展廊“Future City Manual ”Gallery©直角建筑摄影
In this project, the DND team tried to find a narrative method that does not make culture seem so distant, but instead easily and subtly integrates the exhibition into a commercial space. We don't want to see cultural exhibitions separated from the commercial environment. Rather, they should be “like adding milk to coffee, where coffee is no longer just coffee and milk is no longer just milk, but together they become a delicious latte.” Although seemingly contradictory, combining the two can actually create new opportunities. I hope it will stimulate some new thoughts and new possibilities. We hope that this exhibition, created in partnership with Shenzhen, will meet visitors’ expectations and imagination for a better life while showcasing the city’s diverse vision, cultural vitality, and urban spirit.
Chief Planner | Yuan Qian
Curation Design | Diameter Narrative Design
Curator & Chief Designer | Degeng Li
Art director & Installation Artist | Wendou Zhou
Project Team | Sida Bai, Yujia Chen, Yiwei Guan, Meng Liu, Xini Qian, Mingdong Song, Joanne, Li Xiong, Jiaxun Zhang (Alphabetize by Last Name)
Content Support | China Academy of Urban Planning & Design Shenzhen, Shenzhen Direction Ecological Development Co., Ltd., Mangrove Wetland Conservation Foundation (MCF), Dapeng Peninsula Marine Library
New Media Technology | Beijing Huocheng Welai Interactive Technology Co., Ltd.
Installation Production | Shanghai Jianzhun Landscape Engineering Co., Ltd.
Exhibition Construction | Shenzhen Gongcheng Exhibition Co., Ltd.
Organizer | RAIL IN
Supporter | Shenzhen SCPG Group
Joint Curator |CABLE