Wind-powered karaoke? Only in Shanghai would such a thing exist. These colourful pavilions were initially built as an art installation -- one of many themed pavilions in a new waterfront park created for Shanghai's 2010 World Expo -- but now they have been torn down, except these Skittle-like structures. Currently, these neon-bright pavilions are utilized by city residents for leisure activities such as karaoke, games, picnics and music -- all powered by the wind turbines spinning above each pavilion. Designed by Shanghai-based Taranta Creations, the pavilions are a playful addition to the urban landscape, and suggest an alternative way to power public recreation. Under the expo's theme of "better city, better life" and hoping to draw future development nearby, the pavilions were built as part of Bailianjing Park, a newly designated green space along the Huangpu River.
Though traditional parks in China are mainly used for activities like tai chi, sports, mahjong and Chinese-style dance, these pavilions provide an updated and unorthodox background to residents' pastimes. As Taranta Creations describes in Contemporist, the pavilions serve as literal eye-candy to draw residents to the park:
The objective of our design was to create sculptures that added more than only visually quality to the park. We wanted to create an installation that enables and facilitates this typical park life. Inspired by the diversity of Chinese recreational cultures, each sculpture is designated for a specific function to suit for multiple purposes. One sculpture will be equipped with microphones and a screen, so it can be used for singing karaoke. Another will contain trays to store chess and card games. In one of the pavilions you can place bottles, for keeping your drinks cold during the hot summers. Or you can dance on the tunes produced by the "jukebox" sculpture.
The wind turbines provide for all the electricity needs of each pavilion. At night, the pods light up the park. The structures stand tall on stilts, a silent reminder of the flooding potential along this river. Supposedly, the rainbow-coloured forms also recall the tradition Chinese fengkafei tea pavilions, albeit in a modernized version that's sustained by the wind, proposing that even ultra-cutting edge urban fun can be sustainably rooted in traditional ways of leisure.
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