Art Waterfront International Forum held in Shanghai

Updated: Nov 15, 2023 By Han Jingyan Print
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The West Bund Orbit.[Photo provided to]

The West Bund Financial Hub and West Bund Art & Design jointly hosted the "Art Waterfront International Forum" recently,with the theme of “Public Art as Social Engagement.” The forum was held in Orbit, the first public art architecture of the West Bund Financial Hub located along the waterfront in Xuhui District, Shanghai.

As an integral part of the 10th edition of West Bund Art & Design and the Shanghai Art Week, West Bund Financial Hub collaborated with West Bund Art & Design to engage internationally-renowned and authoritative figures from various fields through the Art Waterfront International Forum. Multifaceted dialogues revolving around the international waterfront urban public art development experience were conducted to explore the powerful impact and cohesive significance of public art in contemporary urban lifestyles.

"Beginning with the inaugural public art architecture 'Orbit', West Bund Financial Hub will kickstart the creation of a 'Public Art Waterfront'. Following the concept of an art gallery without walls, international and local elements of art will be seamlessly integrated into the expansive waterfront, sculpting a distinctive, revolutionary waterfront lifestyle. At the same time, through the Art Waterfront International Forum, we initiated the 'Enlightenment Program' with a commitment to collaborate with major art museums and curators to foster effective urban planning, and facilitate diverse in-depth discussions among global waterfront cities. With a shared vision and global artistic perspectives, we have co-created the blueprint for the future urban development of the riverside Xuhui District, Shanghai," a spokesperson from Hongkong Land said.

At present, the role of public art is becoming increasingly prominent in the process of urban development. From beautifying urban spaces to upgrading local cultures, public art continuously inspires brand-new imaginations of urban spaces while sparking innovative creativity and vitality.

The Art Waterfront International Forum gathers esteemed museum directors, curators, art collectors and urban developers from around the world, interweaving the rich tapestry of public art planning experiences from multiple global waterfront cities in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and China. Through multi-perspective dialogues, it explored the multifaceted roles public art plays in bringing positive influences to cities and communities while fostering prosperous community development.

Anchored by the visionary development goals of "Shanghai 2035" - an aspiration to become an "innovative, humanistic, and ecological city" - the forum will take place against Shanghai's captivating urban landscape. Its objectives aim to foster the exchange of ideas within the art industry, stimulate economic and cultural development through art, and inspire an ideal waterfront lifestyle in harmony with the city's rhythm.

Boasting 1.4 kilometers of waterfront landscape along the riverside, the West Bund Financial Hub is an embodiment of Hongkong Land's long-standing professional commitment to public art. With its development strategy and core positioning as a "Public Art Waterfront", it aims to build a platform where carefully curated collections of art will be gathered in an avant-garde art & design district. In addition to existing professional art activities in the West Bund area, it will incorporate diverse culture and tourism experiences, with the integration of more large-scale festive events to boost public participation so as to create an open and holistic art experience.

Embracing the concept of building an art gallery without walls, the West Bund Financial Hub aims to create an immersive public art atmosphere that is borderless and open to all. It brings together master-level artworks and emerging artistic trends while seamlessly integrating artistic elements into the waterfront space. Thus, art serves as a medium for symbiotic dialogue between humanity and space, sparking innovation across industries and shaping the ideal waterfront lifestyle.

The West Bund Orbit, the first public art architecture of West Bund Financial Hub developed by Hongkong Land, which is also the venue of the Art Waterfront International Forum, has made its debut. Designed by world renowned architect Thomas Heatherwick, this public art architecture composed of flowing "tracks" resonates with the leisure riverside lifestyle of Xuhui, allowing people to enjoy the panoramic view of the urban scenic riverside landscape and feel the openness and inclusiveness of the city.

In the future, the West Bund Financial Hub will continue to drive exchanges and collaborations within the global art industry, strengthen the development of art spaces and integrate art and fashion to empower urban renewal and industrial development. This will contribute to Shanghai's goal of becoming an international art and fashion capital. Starting with the West Bund Orbit, West Bund Financial Hub will continue to empower the establishment of Asia's most beautiful art corridor in the West Bund, setting a benchmark for urban evolution and redefining the waterfront urban lifestyle.

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