China Tujia Brocade Art Museum-The Flower of Tujia

The design unifies and highlights the museum’s interior and sparks a sense of wonder that verges on the spiritual, a key aspect of YI+MU’s philosophy.

The way Xi­lan Kapu, also known as Tu­jia Bro­cade, makes peo­ple feel is sim­i­lar to that of the Tu­jia di­alect. That is, they are closely con­nected to the rich­ness of the land and daily life. Per­haps more im­por­tantly though, they are both head­ing to­wards ex­tinc­tion if left un­pro­tected. The main area of the China Tu­jia Bro­cade Mu­seum in Zhangji­a­jie, Hu­nan Province, was com­pleted in 2022.

The gi­ant cen­tral in­stal­la­tion, the “Flower of Tu­jia,” is 8m wide, 13m tall, and 8m deep. It is made by 150,000 me­ters of red bro­cade threads. It reaches all the way from the floor to the ceil­ing, com­pelling peo­ple to come closer and ex­plore this tra­di­tional hand­i­craft that has re­mained silent for thou­sands of years.

The China Tu­jia Bro­cade Mu­seum is ded­i­cated to the Tu­jia bro­cade hand­i­craft, which is con­sid­ered to be part of the coun­try’s na­tional in­tan­gi­ble cul­tural her­itage. Zhangji­a­jie Guaiyaomei Tu­jia Bro­cade asked YI+MU De­sign Of­fice to de­sign the in­te­rior of the mu­seum. It took them four months to com­plete the cen­tral in­stal­la­tion. This col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Van­cou­ver, Bei­jing, and Zhangji­a­jie is like a flower slowly bloom­ing across time and space.

For the Tu­jia women who weave these pat­terns, com­plet­ing the more than 30 steps to pro­duce Xi­lan Kapu is like breath­ing. They weave the an­cient Tu­jia peo­ple’s idea of the sun as the fire of life and their burn­ing and peace­ful long­ing for life into the “col­or­ful and vis­i­ble” Xi­lan Kapu. This loom tech­nique has been used for thou­sands of years.

A ver­ti­cal pas­sage is cre­ated by two steel stair­cases, which are con­nected by two plat­forms lo­cated at the cen­ter of the in­stal­la­tion, bring­ing the stair­cases and the in­stal­la­tion to­gether. The lin­ear struc­ture of the in­dus­trial stair­cases is de­rived from the hexa­gon found in the Xi­lan Kapu pat­tern. It is also used in the hol­low shape of the outer steel struc­ture. When the sub­tle graph­ics emerge and un­fold, the con­tra­dic­tion and ten­sion of the space in­vite new imag­in­ings.

The bot­tom of the stair­cases and the in­stal­la­tion are raised, and the floor is paved in Xi­lan Kapu pat­terns to al­low vis­i­tors to ac­cess the space and sit on the floor. The de­sign also echoes the stilted build­ings of the Tu­jia peo­ple and max­i­mizes the space for the en­trants to ful­fill the spirit of the venue.

The di­a­mond-shape struc­ture in­spired by the iconic pat­tern of the Tu­jia bro­cade is clearly vis­i­ble from all an­gles.

Symbolically interpreting the 30-step process of Xi­lan Kapu into a three-dimensional piece, the design unifies and highlights the museum’s interior and sparks a sense of wonder that verges on the spiritual, a key aspect of YI+MU’s philosophy.

The museum building was completed in 2022 and an opening date is yet to be announced. Find more of YI+MU’s projects on the studio’s website.

Scope of ser­vices:Pro­ject plan、In­te­rior de­sign
Pro­ject aress:China ZhangJi­a­Jie
Pro­ject area:1100㎡
Pro­ject time:2022

All images © YI+MU, shared with permission

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