On September 20, 2015, the Crafts Museum of CAA held its grand opening on the Xiangshan Campus of CAA. The museum is designed by renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who applies traditional Chinese tiles as a key feature to the museum and perfectly integrate the architecture with the beautiful hills and waters of the natural environment.
The construction started in 2011, with a total scale of 5000 square meters, in which 1700 square meters is for exhibiting. This museum was designed with the objectives of being in harmony with the environment and proposing a new relationship between people and art by creating seamless and highly diverse display spaces. The structures were designed with cross-sections that blend in with the mountain slope to instead of grading it, with the respective display spaces seamlessly being revealed as you go through the museum.
Roof tiles used to cover old homes in the area were gathered, and these and various other locally available materials with rich textures such as cedar were used inside. The group of small roofs that were made using these tiles give the museum the appearance of a village. The tiles are held in place with stainless steel wire to create a screen which controls the light and view, and a façade that has a rich variation of shadows. This methodology proposes the idea that rather than the gardens being in contrast with the architecture, the soil from the tea gardens is gradually transformed into the man-made architecture.
The opening exhibition “Exploitation of the Works of Nature: The craftsmanship in the Southern China” showcased 100 antique chairs, 100 traditional window sashes and 100 antique utensils to give a glimpse of the world of craftsmanship in the southern area of China. As Professor Hang Jian, the director of the Museum Group of CAA, says: “Although technology is more developed, and the fabrication of materials is advanced, but the relationship between people and objects has not really changed. For thousands of years, the mountains, nature and the physical body of mankind still remain unchanged. In an ever increasingly virtualized life, we miss the old rustic and nature even more, and the traditional folk art is like a media connecting us with the traditions.” According to Prof. Hang Jian, “folk art” is defined as the “the art of life”. The utensils and furnitures in display are representations of the “exquisite attitude to life.The economic development in the Qing Dynasty has generated a lot of intricate handicrafts, not only representing the traditional aesthetics of Chinese culture, they can also nourish contemporary Chinese life.”