The Living With Water Exhibition

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The Living With Water Exhibition

Abstract or Summary of Project

The Living With Water Exhibition in Shanghai, China is a project that aims to link cultural, mythical and factual interests to the symbolic meaning of water. It is designed to be an immersive and experiential journey centered on the myth of the Dragon’s Gate legend.

Rediscover the meaning of water to the ancient Chinese and reconnect back to the roots of the Yellow River – the cradle of civilization of the East.

Process and More Details

Starting The Journey

The project was sparked forth from the symbol of the ancient chinese character of the word ‘水‘ (water). With the understanding that the ancient writings were mainly pictograms, we are able to see the close resemblance of the word ‘水‘ to a flowing river. Ancient records has shown that the civilization in the East came about due to the nurturing qualities of the Yellow River.

From my interpretation of the symbol, it was a picture of harmony, balance and encompasses everything that the Chinese knew about ‘water’ at that time. I saw more than just a river made up of three ripples, but civilization building their homes, farms and lives along the Yellow River, living in harmony together with it.

The logo that you see above is a modern representation of this belief – to be in harmony with water. The yellow stroke depicts the Yellow River, and civilization as the four strokes on either side.

The Dragon’s Gate

The Dragon’s Gate legend has it that if a carp that the tenacity to swim up the “Dragon’s Gate” (a tall waterfall) located at the end of the Yellow River, he will be magically transformed into a mighty dragon. Unfazed by the long tumultuous journey, the carp’s determination enabled it to resist hurdles and achieve success.


The Yellow River Conservancy Commission of China, and The World Water Council

Target Audience

Chinese nationals and expats living in or near Shanghai. Families are also welcomed to explore the exhibition together.

Print Collaterals

The print collaterals consists of the entrance ticket, gift card and the book series that complements the exhibition. The die cut of the logo and the gatefold feature on all the collaterals are a unique touch to link the concept of a journey and the Dragon’s Gate to all print materials.

The gift card will be a complementary keepsake for participants after they past the Dragon’s Gate – a memento to remember what they have experienced here. Every dragon is uniquely designed – evolved from the carp avatar that was created at the interactive kiosk.

The book series can be purchased at the retail area.

The Interactive Design Kiosk (in sequence of use)

A design kiosk for participants to create their own carp avatar. It will be their digital travel companion swimming alongside them in the LED river. They will be able to interact with it as well as with other participants’ avatars.


The Space

The exhibition space is representational of the Yellow River. Giant LED panels will be used to cover the areas consisting of the river, which flows along the length of the entire space. A five storey high LED panel will also be installed at the Dragon’s Gate Room to simulate the waterfall.

Ultimately, the goal for all participants is to arrive at the Dragon’s Gate Room to enjoy the space, the movement of the waterfall from the LED screen and ponder on what they have experienced thus far on this journey. Then, by exiting the room via the doorway, it signifies their courage to stand up for what is right and a completion of this experiential journey.

The placement of the stone benches in the Dragon’s Gate Room once again reinforce the symbol of water, as well as the logo of the exhibition.

* 30% of all proceeds from the Living With Water Exhibition will go towards anti-pollution efforts for the Yellow River in China.

The next stop for the Living with Water series of exhibitions – Mexico City, Dec 2012.


Posted on

March 27, 2015

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