On a rainy afternoon in July 2021, I went to see the location of the gallery’s new space accompanied with Mr.Liu of East Gallery and the artist Bian Shaozhi. At the end of the 1980s, it was designed by Zhang Lei Associated Architects and transformed into an industrial park in 2020. We were all amazed by the tall and wide space scale of the new space. Mr. Liu said that artists in Nanjing needs to paint some large paintings. Shaozhi feels that when painting large paintings, he also needs a tall space, the feeling of painting in a tall space is completely different from the feeling of painting in a low space. So we decided to keep the high and large scale of the original space as much as possible to provide artists with a better degree of freedom in presenting their works, although this will lose a lot of usable area.
Scale and proportion of the space The gallery needs a continuous wall with sufficient length in function, to meet this demand, we have designed a suitable length and width radio for the main exhibition hall space; the height of the main exhibition hall is based on the complete exposed corbel columns which is five meters high, at the same time, the maximum net height of the original space is preserved on the side with height windows, the wall on this side is also the longest section of the exhibition wall in the gallery.
Occasional outdoor light We closed most of the external windows of the original building in the design to obtain a long enough continuous wall, because the main exhibition wall is close to the high side windows of the original factory building, it can be seen at a certain time in the sunny afternoon, direct sunlight will fall on the white wall and move slowly over time. It was thought that it would interfere with the exhibition, but it was found to increase the fun and surprise in the actual exhibition, so I have decided not to interfere with the direct light here.
Balance between function and space The function of the gallery is essentially to let the audience to focus on appreciating artworks. In order to achieve this, our air conditioner uses an air-cooled heat pump + full air system, the sound of the air conditioner is hardly heard in the exhibition hall. We have chosen professional lighting equipment, and when the lights are turned on, uniform light similar to the outdoor natural light are shone.
In the first exhibition, I met the artist Shaozhi in the gallery. He said that the original wall at center position was interrupted and disturbed by the exposed concrete columns, which would grab the sight of the artworks. The space effect affects the function here, which is inappropriate. I think he is right.