The Infinite: A Contemporary Wood Architecture Exhibition Successfully Held in Shanghai

By: Lance Tao

Export Development Program, Canada Wood Group

Canada Wood China and Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine jointly held a wood architecture exhibition in Shanghai from November 30th to December 4th, 2022. The theme of the exhibition was titled “The Infinite: A Contemporary Wood Architecture Exhibition,” and the displays were divided into three sub-exhibition areas. These included: 1) Boundless: materials transcending beauty and building design; 2) Unlimited: a glimpse of contemporary wood project designs; and 3) Carbon-free: moving towards the future of wood construction. This event represented a brand new approach for the ways that CW China promotes wood construction in China, with a more appealing format for creative designers and architects.

The theme of this event was designed to break people’s traditional understanding of wood construction and convey the infinite possibilities of wood construction, including flexibility in design, applicability of various building types, combinations with other materials and the applications for larger span projects. Through this exhibition, people can dispel the misconception that building with wood leads to deforestation. Through learning about sustainable forestry management in Canada, people can understand that wood is a sustainable and renewable material, and that wood construction is a low-carbon and environment-friendly building solution.

Exhibition Venue
Exhibition Venue

The exhibition space was divided into three areas according to the three themes. Among them, the “Boundless” exhibition area was not only a show room but also a salon space for activities. In the design, the highlight was the wooden device built with Canadian wood, which was used as both a decoration and a way to display more projects. The Technical team of CW China provided design and technical support for the installation, optimizing the functional use of the space along with structural aesthetics that also reinforce the beauty of wood materials.

Boundless Area
Boundless Area
Unlimited Area
Carbon-free Area

In addition to our own Sino-Canadian demonstration projects, UED and CW China jointly invited three local design studios in Shanghai and five influential projects in the industry in China. A total of 15 wooden structure projects participated in the exhibition.

Over the duration of the exhibition, different activities were hosted each day. Three local design studios were invited to share their experience working on the wood projects which were on display through salons, and there was also a family event held to inspire young architects. At the opening ceremony, the representatives from Canadian Consulate in Shanghai and provincial government of Alberta Office attended and UED invited many well-known architects, representatives of design studios and media outlets from across the industry. There were about 40 people attending the opening ceremony and 1,463 people watching online. Song-min Cho, Vice-Consul & Trade Commissioner from Consulate Canada in Shanghai, delivered opening remarks as representative of Canada government. Eric Wong, Managing Director of Canada Wood China, and Kirk Sun, Director of PR of UED Magazine welcomed all the guests and introduced the exhibition as the co-organizers of the exhibition.

Group photo of the opening ceremony
△   Songmin Cho, Vice-Consul & Trade Commissioner from Consulate Canada in Shanghai delivering opening remarks
△  Eric Wong, Managing Director of Canada Wood China delivering opening remarks
△   Zhu Xiaofeng, Founder/ Chief Architect of Scenic Architecture Introducing wood project
△   Li Baofeng, Founder/ Chief Architect of Li Baofeng Studio Introducing wood project
△   Weizhou Fu, Wood Design Director of Canada Wood China Introducing Brock Commons

During the exhibition, CW China organized a family event named “Little Architects,” to inspire the next generation of designers on the possibilities of wood construction. Some of the parents were architects who also wanted to learn more about wood construction.

Before the exhibition, over 33 media outlets published news about the exhibition, which reached over 40,000 views. Even though there were COVID-19 restrictions about the total number of people allowed to visit the venue each day, there was a total of 371 people that visited the five-day exhibition, and the online broadcasts of the different events reached a total of 6,380 views. Most visitors were designers, students and teachers majoring in architecture. Many visitors came to raised technical questions about potential wood projects they were considering, and the team at CW China was able to connect with a few new leads for potential project collaborations.

In addition to CW China and UED’s own media platforms, the event was reported and forwarded by a lot of designers and design medias, reinforcing the success of the program with the impression it left amongst professional designers. The team received positive feedback from visitors, and some of them expressed that the exhibition changed their understanding of wood construction. Despite some challenges raised due to COVID-19 restrictions, the balance of on-site events and online broadcasts made it possible to engage a larger audience, and the partners involved were very happy with the results of this activity as a new style of engagement with designers in China.