For the 2010 Hong Kong and Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture, we took the opportunity to share conceptual ideas and offer something a bit unexpected. As part of the Gordon Wu CityLocal project, named after a businessman seeking to tackle the isolation and distractions that people face when working from home, we set up a trade stand to share some fictional franchise businesses which aimed to solve the downsides of the home office. Visitors to the Biennale were given the opportunity to preview three Gordon Wu CityLocal franchises: ‘LunchBook’, ‘Wuuf Village’, and ‘Tokens of an Office’.
LunchBook is a touring ‘office canteen’ concept we designed. Offering healthy lunch options orderable via an app, a catering vehicle travels from one residential area to another to offer people who work from home an opportunity to leave their desk, feel part of a community, socialise and network with other local home-workers during their lunchbreak.
Wuuf Village offers a subset of products to home workers with pets. Our concept for a pet-friendly restaurant allows lonely home workers to share a meal with man’s best friend, and a ‘flirt station’ provides an opportunity to walk their dog and meet similarly reclusive home workers.
Finally, Tokens of an Office is a catalogue of products we designed to recreate specific elements of the office at home. Products in the range include: the ‘Commuter Computer’, an exercise bike installed beneath a desk at home, which enables users to cycle to the office without leaving the house; the ‘Random Email Generator’, a computer programme that ensures home workers never miss out on the circular emails doing the rounds of the office, and the ‘WonderWalk’, a treadmill with a virtual commuting game where the mission is to get to work by darting around businessmen.
We used our trade stand as a showcase for our research into flexible working, with the conceptual products and services in each franchise highlighting the actual hidden desires and unseen dilemmas facing flexible workers in major cities.
Thanks to MISC, Daniel Wiltshire, Ed Butler, Melissa Appleton and Niall Gallacher who collaborated with us on various parts of the project.
“Gordon Wu CityLocal is featured in the Dezeen Book of Ideas which is a celebration of amazing ideas by the world’s best creative brains. This book contains 116 ideas that have made the biggest impression on us at dezeen.com, and which have received the biggest reaction from our million-strong global readership. Collectively the ideas in this book give a fascinating overview of the way today’s leading architects and designers are thinking.”
“Gordon Wu City Local… was one of the most interesting, creative and thought provoking of over 60 international artists and architects that took part in the event [2009 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism]. I worked closely with David and Kevin throughout nearly six months of preparation. They worked tirelessly towards the project, produced some in-depth research and original work and were able to create a very high calibre installation amid a complex network of international collaborators, translators and graphic designers. They were at all times professional, hard-working and good-humoured and their work and conversation brought a real lift to the biennale. I very much hope to work with them again in the future.”
Beatrice Galilee, Curator.
“…Practices, like UK-based Aberrant Architecture, make an impact with a variety of imaginative installations and happenings”
2010 Hong Kong and Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture