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flying in the city at the Xintiandi Design Festival 

MBRS Design and Research Studio’s Flying in the City combines interactivity, gaming, and environmental protection in machinery. At the same time, the public art installation subtly connects people’s inner selves with nature, cities, and society. Created for the Xintiandi Design Festival in Shanghai, the work draws on the joyful, youthful memories of riding a bike, shaped from recycled and recyclable bicycle components which are processed and reassembled to form a ‘wing’ shape. These mechanical structures are not merely static installations but can be activated by triggering the settings in the main installation area. Here, visitors can experience these discarded materials find new life, and the dynamism that they bring about.

all images courtesy of MBRS Design and Research Studio

MBRS revives discarded bicycle components

Utilizing bicycles as the core spatial construction language, MBRS approached the opportunity with an experimental approach to bring about their ideas of novelty – stemming from the word ‘flight’. For children, flight might embody their unfettered dreams and wild imaginations. Whereas for adults, it could signify the yearning for freedom. ‘In the heart of every individual lies a distant horizon they aspire to ‘fly’ towards,’ reflects the design team.

Within its frame, multiple interactive areas can be activated and flown, whether in single-player mode or through multi-person cooperation. During the process of participating in the installation activities, visitors not only experience the joy of controlling the machine, but also integrate into the entire performance. ‘This is not just a simple amusement experience, but also an exploratory journey that blends the mind with the outside world,’ notes the team.

MBRS transforms discarded bicycle components into interactive urban art installation in china
MBRS Design and Research Studio completes Flying in the City

The installation’s concept is further rooted in sustainability, recycling and reusing materials as a reflection on society and the cyclical nature of life. Discarded bicycles have been transformed into novel experimental spaces to awaken people’s attention to sustainable lifestyles, stimulate contemplation, and provide a meaningful platform for exchange. MBRS has reconfigured the scrapped components into two sets of art devices. 

Flying in the City was created along the theme of Hybrid Playground for Design Shanghai at Xintiandi Design Festival in June 2024. The work embodies no boundaries, only a playground, bridging connections between people, installations, and the city. Participants, not limited by age, gender, or occupation, are invited to diverge from conventional urban paths and indulge in the joy of a utopian playground.

MBRS transforms discarded bicycle components into interactive urban art installation in china
shaped from recycled bicycle components which are processed and reassembled to form a ‘wing’ shape

MBRS transforms discarded bicycle components into interactive urban art installation in china
combining interactive behaviors, gaming experiences, and environmental protection in machinery

MBRS transforms discarded bicycle components into interactive urban art installation in china
created for the Xintiandi Design Festival in Shanghai

MBRS transforms discarded bicycle components into interactive urban installation in china
the interactive work draws on the joyful, youthful memories of riding a bike

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Brandhaus