Design Spotlight: Ai Wei Wei

Ai wei wei birdsnest.jpg

Ai Wei Wei (pronounced Eye–Way-Way).

He was born August 28, 1957. He is a Chinese contemporary artist and political/human rights activist.             

Famously, Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics –AKA “The Birds Nest”

This line of thought brought the team to the "nest scheme". The stadium consists of two independent structures, standing 50 feet apart: a red concrete seating bowl and the outer steel frame around it.When asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird's Nest in the first place, Ai replied "I did it because I love design."

Ai Wei Wei was the son of Chinese poet and activist Ai Qing. He originally studied animation at Beijing Film Academy in 1978,  and was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the “Stars”. In the 80’s and early 90’s he was in New York and briefly studied at Parsons School of Design, and the Art Students League or New York. He dropped out to become a street artist and gained exposure to Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns and began creating conceptual art. He became friends with poet Allen Ginsberg (a fan of Ai’s father).

Architectural Projects:

Jinhua Park - In 2002, he was the curator of the project Jinhua Architecture Park.
Tsai Residence - In 2006, Ai and HHF Architects designed a private residence in upstate New York. According to the New York Times, the Tsai Residence is divided into four modules and the details are "extraordinarily refined".  In 2009, the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design selected the home for its International Architecture Awards, one of the world's most prestigious global awards for new architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning.
Ordos 100 - In 2008, he curated the architecture project Ordos 100 in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. He invited 100 architects from 29 countries to participate in this project
Serpentine Pavilion - In summer 2012, Ai teamed again with Herzog & de Meuron on a "would-be archaeological site [as] a game of make-believe and fleeting memory" as the year's temporary Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London's Kensington Gardens.