London architecture practice Sam Jacob Studio has created a shelter that combines prehistoric monumental elements with contemporary forms in Shenzhen, China.
Named the Yantian Dolmen, the structure is one of a group of street furniture pieces being built by Sam Jacob Studio in the Yantian port district of Shenzhen. The shelter is constructed from a mixture of geometric and abstract shapes that are informed by municipal structures and Neolithic monuments.
"It is both familiar and alien," said Sam Jacob, founder of Sam Jacob Studio. "It combines two different types of ideas of shelters – one that's prehistoric, the other part of the everyday language of the street. On the one hand monumental, on the other municipal."
The shelter does not have an immediately recognisable form or distinct purpose.
"It's designed to reflect the more open possibilities of street life – that the way it’s used can change over time rather than remain fixed," explained Jacob. "It's in part of an old port which is being opened up, and there are still lots of people working there so the street is pretty populated, with people sitting there and eating lunch. The shelter gives shade and seating.”
It is formed from two triangular blocks – one grey and one yellow – along with two red-and-white striped poles, supporting a turquoise-coloured disk.
The major elements are made from polystyrene and covered with a hard coating.
Yantian Dolmen is the latest project designed by Jacob that combine Neolithic and contemporary ideas. Another example is his 1:1 replica of the Avebury standing stone in Milton Keynes called the MK Menhir.
"I'm interested in the objects and spaces of a culture that we will never really understand. They are often so suggestive of use, meaning and the role they played in these societies, yet they remain open to interpretation," explained Jacob.
Sam Jacob Studio was founded in 2014 by Jacob, who was one of the three founders of influential architecture studio FAT. The studio has recently designed the Cartoon Museum in central London and a hairdresser in south London.