Invisible Modelling

Works by Environment and Interior Design Year 3 Student

Project background: 

Italo Calvino’s Le città invisibili [Invisible Cities], first published in 1972 and translated in 1978, explores the fine line between reality and the imaginary aspects of cities within literature. Penned within its pages are the landscapes of 55 urban settings discussed at levels of details and scale. Not to be confused as just any randomly chosen city settings, the Invisible cities collection is a literal description of the places explored by the Venetian Marco Polo during his global travels. More importantly, the text acts as a descriptive account of Polo’s experiences and the manner in which he relays each city to the aging Mongolian emperor, the Great Kublai Khan.

Some scholars have questioned the true purpose of Calvino’s text and its meanings, claiming that the collection of cities simply mirrors what urban dwellers encounter through the urban processes, forms of art, culture and history in its phases of development. Others, in contrast, have voiced options that the descriptions are meant to destabilize, confront and challenge our reading of cities, marking them, as in the text, open, fluid and intelligible. It is through the mismatch of language, the inability to distinguish between signs, signals and every other level of semiotic misinterpretation, that the various open-ended readings of cities, people and landscapes occur, and the true purpose of Calvino’s cities becomes evident.

The 3rd year studio students examined, explored and depicted one narrative contained within Invisible Cities through spatial models. Interpretation of a specific city narrative is three dimensionally explored through tectonics, structure, form, order, pattern and urban thresholds as intersecting modules, to roughly the size of 15 cm x 15 cm x 30 cm in gypsum.

Participating students:

AU Tsz Ling, CHAN Ching Nam, CHAN Man Yee, CHAN Sau Ling, CHAN Sze Yu, CHAN Yui Shan, CHENG Pui Man, CHEUNG Tsz Tung, CHIU Suet Ling, CHOW Ho Yeung, CHOW Lok Yi, CHOW Tsz Chung, CHOW Wai Yin, CHU Chun Hin, FUNG Elaine, FUNG Lok Tin, HE Xue, HO Hin Wing, HUNG Shuk Ying, KO Ka Ka, LAI Hok Ming Wallace, LAM Oi Tung Michelle, LAM Yin Fung, LAU Kai Ting, LEHTINEN Noora Maria, LEONG Dennis Mingfai, LEUNG Hiu Sun, LO Tsz Wing Sharon, LUNG Yin Fei Venus, MAN Ting Fung, OR Chun Hin Justin, POON Sum Yuen, SARAH-ARIFAH-IMRAN, SUN Shu Man, TANG Ka Hei, THOMAS Ntchwaidumela Hakeem, TSAI Chang Yu, TSE Wing Ki Iris, WU Hoi Yan, YEH Man Ian Lincoln, YEUNG Ho Kin, YIP Chung May, YUNG Yat Yeung Carrie.

Studio Masters:

Mark Chan, Michael Chan, Kelly Chow, dr. Henri Tung, Kuo Jze Yi, dr. Gerhard Bruyns [Coordinator].