An understated bamboo canopy situated among the verdant landscape of the Karst Mountains in Yangshuo, China, offers respite from the sun and frequent rainfall that blankets the area. Designed by Lllab. Architects for the outdoor theatrical performance of Impression Sanjie Liu, the curved structure merges seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Bamboo trees line the pathway the canopy occupies as it stretches across 140 meters.
Smaller lanterns are positioned at the entrance to the venue before the larger structure guides visitors to the main performance stage, which sits at the bank of the Li River. The canopy is hand-woven by local craftspeople, who utilize a specific technique that allows the suble form to be made entirely of the organic material without the use of glue or nails. Inside the permeable walls are load-bearing posts.
In a statement about the surging form, Lllab. notes that the architecture mimics the performers’ movements:
The hand weaving, bamboo playing off the tension of one another. The topography of the canopy ceiling dancing between columns of bamboo as if unsupported. Even the way guests are intended to move from lantern to lantern, in a narrative of interaction. Together these subtle hints encourage a particular frame of mind, readying the guest for the main feature.