What are the topics and objects that catch your interest in the PLACE? Why? How are you interacting with the place? How are people using the place? CITYMAKERS China – Germany´s WU Yimeng and Katja Hellkötter co-created a booklet – Reading the Traces of a Place 读书地方的痕迹 – as a tool for an alternative spatial cognition.
Yimeng Wu grew up in Shanghai, China, and the Rhine-Ruhr Area, Germany, and feels comfortable living between both cultures. She studied visual communication in Essen (University of Duisburg-Essen), Berlin (University of the Arts) and Paris (École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs).
Her Berlin-based awards-winning Studio Wu 無 is specialized in intercultural design projects and collaborates with traditional as well as digital media. In artistic book projects like ‘Yaotaos Zeichen’, Yimeng Wu explores themes of cultural identity in an urban and historical context. Her inspiration often comes from her travels, during which she captures cities and landscapes by urban sketching. She regularly holds workshops at universities (e.g: Nanjing Fine Arts Institute, Tsinghua University Beijing, UdK Berlin) on the topics of intercultural design and typography as well as urban artistic explorations.
Since 2016, Studio Wu 無 is responsible of the visual identity and artistic interventions of CITYMAKERS. Yimeng Wu co-created the CITYMAKERS Berlin-Beijing Learning Map and the Reading the Traces of a Place-Booklet. Being a passionate urban gardener, Yimeng also coordinated the Urban Farming Incubator together with Dr. Pan Tao.
What do you value in being part of the CITYMAKERS China-Europe network?
Yimeng Wu: “I really enjoy the exchange with so many enthusiastic people from various fields from Europe and China who are driven by similar city making dreams like ‘living a city life in balance with nature’ or ‘living in a city which integrates its cultural heritage into modern times’. Beautiful collaborations and projects have arisen from the network which enriches city-landscapes in the form of films, urban gardens, books, exhibitions, community gatherings, walk excursions and much more.”
What drives you with regard to city making?
“VISUAL CODES OF THE CITY – To discover the different historical and social layers of the city through artistic discovery. Urban sketching, identifying and collecting street typography, perceiving the city with different senses. Studying local cultural codes of the city can inspire us designers, who are co-creating the visual identity of a place.
URBAN-RURAL – How to make our cities more resilient for the ongoing climate change through more city green like urban gardening or vertical gardening, which also enable informal community spaces. How to live an urban-rural sustainable lifestyle which creates synergies between the city and its green surroundings.”