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Value Factory


Rather than temporarily running the "main venue" of the 5th Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Bi-City Biennale in 2013, I proposed to curate a lasting transformation into an actual “Special Culture Zone” poised to become an important place for cultural production in Shenzhen for the years to come. The actual regeneration from a place of mass production to a place for ideas, renamed as Value Factory, broke down into three parts: 1. a physical transformation to expose and amplify the unique qualities of an industrial  building and site and hence a showcase of the power of design to rescue value; 2. the temporary inhabitation by a range of global cultural institutions, to study, expand, leverage and show their work in China; 3. the organization of a wide range of public activities, to bring the factory alive on a daily basis, including the running of a design school for the duration of the Biennale. The plan was executed by a small team, including Liu Lei, Jorn Konijn and Vivian Zuidhof.


towards a value factory for Shenzhen

As Creative Director of the 5th UABB, I am proud to present to you: The Value Factory.

Conceived, designed and programmed to last much longer than the Biennale’s duration of three months, this project harkens back to the Biennale’s original idea: to create an event that acts as an urban catalyst, setting the tone for the future of the city it is dedicated to. This is why the UABB decided to use Shekou at the city’s urban border and a derelict glass factory as its main venue. At first, the factory did not seem to have much worth; now I am sure we have rescued its value.

It took my team 10 steps to get there and you will find or encounter these steps during your visit. Let me reveal them, and guide you through them…

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A Value Factory

in 10 Steps


From an economic to a culture zone


From sponsor to investor


From background to foreground


Doing almost nothing


Value Factory match-making


Value Factory program partners


Value Factory Studio


Value Factory Academy


Value Factory public program


Connecting roads

Urban Border

urbanism\architecture bi-city biennale 2013-2014

Value Factory Imaginations

a catalogue of value factory academy

From the very beginning of the Biennale project, it was said that the Value Factory’s horizon lies beyond that single three-monthly event. That it was poised to become a lasting place of inspiring bold ideas of designers, clients, and visiting citizens. A place for creativity as in Albert Einstein’s famous words- intelligence having fun. A place of learning and a place of doing. At the re-opening op this old factory building in its new default setting in December 2013, it was ready for further experiment, occupation, programming. Shenzhen life could take over…

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2014_Value Factory Imaginations(cover).j

Value Factory Academy

follow-up plan


the resilience of architecture

Two primitive huts located in front of the Finnish Pavilion in Venice were constructed by Finnish and Chinese master carpenters to showcase the resilience and similarity of traditional building techniques used in both countries. The project, entitled Re-Creation, was based on a concept by architect Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture and will be open for visitors during the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. The installation curated by Ole Bouman and  Juulia Kauste aims to respond to the Biennale’s

theme, which focuses on the timeless basics of architecture. The two wooden structures were built by Finnish and Chinese teams-the project was developed in collaboration with the Shenzhen BI-CITY Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (UABB) - and are presented in front of the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956. Their simplicity strikes up a complex dialogue between architects and local builders and embraces an appreciation for traditional building techniques.