The banking giant's artistic ambition starts from its "fourth plinth" of Lujiazui, Shanghai
Since the 1970s, UOBhas been committed to working for the creation and promotionof art in Southeast Asia, and now it hopes that UOB Art Gallery in Shanghai become a majorart platformin Asia. Art and commerce, it is like an ideal marriage wherechemical reactionswithcatalysts will occur. Today, in the bustling business district of Lujiazui, Shanghai, UOB wishes to create a permanent independent art space on the ground floor of its headquarters building to present its corporate philosophy, namely, "the way of art is the same with the way of banking".BNJN Design, the designer, compares metaphorically this banking giant’s project to the "Fourth Plinth" in London's Trafalgar Square.
In the process of transformation between London and Shanghai, UOB Art Gallery has changed the western stone column into oriental bricksmost of whichare designed to curve inside or bulge outside, which echoes with the facade of UOB’s building.Basically the finished brick wall, setabove the gallery entrance and carefully enclosed by a glass cover, is kind of a serious work of art-it’s just like the eastern version of “FourthPlinth” here in Shanghai, which from time to time, might provoke the visitor’s curiosity: Whose art is going be displayedtoday?
Into the gallery, the long, narrow space is divided by moving walls, the built-in display shelves can be flipped when needed, and thus the artworks can be presentedfrom different angles, so the visitors will often be surprised as when walking around. Meanwhile, different artworks can alsodialogue with each other through the openings in the moving walls. Due to the flexibility of the presenting angles, a wide range of changes and artistic richness can be appreciated in a fixed space.
On the window side of the gallery, BNJN designed a row of seats andthe wooden ceiling of the grille above, which echoes with the neat and tidy lines around, giving visitors acomfortableplace to rest and communicate.
Compared to the white gallery space, the staircase is equipped with linear metal surfaceembedded with LED light strips, which draw the visitor’s attention back to the world of finance for a moment, where the concept of “the way of art is also the way of banking” is perfectly interpreted.
Education (2nd floor)
The second floor has a multi-functional art space that can accommodate a small art sharing session, which BNJN hopes will be full of possibilities, and it also encouragesthe participation of staffsand the public and eventually provides more opportunities for theart enthusiastsfrom all walks of life.