C Future City in the southern Chinese metropolis of Shenzhen wants to be more than yet another modern neighborhood. As the name suggests, it considers itself at the vanguard of contemporary urban construction and has spared little expense in its hiring from urban gardens and giant walls of plants by French botanist Patrick Blanc to overall architectural design by Keith Griffiths’s firm Aedas. The next step is integrating immersive art experiences, a task executed by Japanese art collective teamLab.

What happened?

teamLab Shenzhen

Visitors to C Future City in Shenzhen will be greeted by four immersive artworks by teamLab, such as a digital waterfall and a continuously rendering cubed flower. Image: teamLab, “Universe of Water Particles” and “People Create Vortices” © teamLab

teamLab is building four giant permanent public artworks in C Future City, an urban village in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. 

Set to be completed by summer 2022, the project includes a giant waterfall composed of digitized water particles that react to the presence of people, a cube flower that continuously renders in real time, and Future Park, an interactive, experimental educational installation. 

What’s teamLab?

An international collective of artists, programmers, and engineers — or “ultra-technologists” as they self-identify — that specializes in creating large-scale immersive experiences using projection mapping. teamLab was founded in Tokyo, Japan, in 2001. 

What’s C Future City?

One of Shenzhen’s so-called “urban villages” — a large complex comprising office buildings, shopping centers, and apartment blocks that has worked with leading architecture and design firms to create a unique environment.

Why it matters

teamlab shenzhen

The Future Park installation is an interactive and educational playground complete with digital projections. Image: teamLab, “Sliding through the Fruit Field” © teamLab

Having seen success with temporary exhibitions in China for much of the past decade, teamLab took a major leap in 2019 by opening a permanent space in Shanghai — Borderless Shanghai.

teamLab followed up this success with a second long-term showing inside the Venetian Macao, and in the coming year is set open a light sculpture show in Shanghai and a so-called “massless” exhibition in Beijing. Point being, teamLab has become a recognizable cultural brand in China, one capable of delivering the large-scale immersive art experiences that hold greatest cultural currency in the country. 

One notable difference in Shenzhen is the public nature of the projects. teamLab is serving as an anchor attraction for the area and high-end shopping mall — a model that has proved particularly successful in K11 art malls, which first opened in Hong Kong in 2008 and are now present in major Chinese cities.

What teamLab said

“teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art. By exhibiting artworks in the innovative and creative city of Shenzhen, teamLab seeks to explore a new relationship between art and city.” — teamLab Press Release


Jing Culture & Commerce