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Created for the East Lake International Ecological Sculpture Biennale in 2021, Vanished House, by Beijing-based artist Hu Quanchun of Field Conforming Studio, sits on the cemetery grounds of Wuhan’s Shimenfeng Memorial Park. An intricate, ivy-patterned web of steel branches suggests a house in absentia, perhaps one lost to ruin or memory. Imagined by Hu as a remembrance of people and places past, the structure is intended as a space of reflection for visitors. He invoked the simplest concept of a house, akin to a child’s drawing. Constructing a one-to-10-scaled miniature in cardboard, designers sketched each ivy branch painstakingly by hand, in what Hu describes as time-consuming and tedious work.

Model of Vanished House

Scale model of Vanished House. Image © Field Conforming Studio

“In this way, the designers could control the density and size of the vines, as well as the turns and connections they present on the walls,” he says. “The process of sketching brought a distinctive feature of handicraft and painting to the work.” The drawings were then converted into vector files to be laser-engraved into weathering steel.

Over time, the metal will rust, darkening into a crimson hue, and emulate the natural texture of the ivy branches from which Vanished House draws its inspiration.