Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale

Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo triennale

Researcher Yujia Bian has cast the word architecture into bars of soap that are being used at the Oslo Architecture Triennale to question the idea of creating pristine works of architecture.

The bars of soap have been placed in Oslo's National Museum of Architecture, one of the venues for the triennale, and will be used throughout the festival.

As the festival progresses, the word architecture will slowly be worn away as the soap is used, which is intended to mirror how buildings change as they are used and do not remain in a pristine state for long.

Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale

The soap has been created to be a functional installation that questions what architecture is aiming to be.

"Through usage, the text on the soap disappears," Bian told Dezeen. "Perhaps it's a symbolic performance that says: when Architecture with a capital A disappears, what it tries to, and claims to, achieve could eventually take place."

Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale

The branded soap also aims to highlight people's frustration with architecture.

"I'm not sure if the soap questions what architecture is," said Bian. "It does, however, show some frustrations about what architecture claims to be."

"As architecture often promises 'sharing' with designated common spaces. Nonetheless, it also often fails to achieve the claim to share, as the social factors often escape from the hands of the architects," she added.

Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale

The bars of soap were created to respond to the Oslo Architecture Triennale's theme of degrowth – an economic strategy that believes we should reduce levels of consumption and production.

"The soap responds to degrowth through its collective use. As you can imagine, not everyone is fond of sharing a bar of soap, despite the fact it actually facilitates collective hygiene," said Bian.

"I think some discomfort is necessary for people to reconsider caring and sharing with each other. It can be a great experience too!"

Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale

The actual bars were made in a factory in Guangzhou, China, which Bian contacted using the online platform Taobao. They were cast in silicon moulds that were also made in the soap factory.

The Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019 takes place in the Norwegian capital between 26 September and 24 November. Explaining the theme of degrowth in a Dezeen opinion column, Phineas Harper, one of the festivals chief curators, said: "our dependency on growth, like on concrete, must be abolished".

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Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale
Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale
Yujia Bian creates architecture soap for Oslo Architecture Triennale