Seats for Seeing were installed in Beikeng village, Yanping district in Fujian province, China, at the end of November 2019. The work was part of the Yanping Art Harvest, running from 30 November 2019 to 29 February 2020.

The project reflects the local historical heritage, by adapting the region’s traditional window design into a larger scale participatory environment that encourages social interaction and communication. Seats for Seeing thus function as a vast window whose ever-evolving pattern is created by the participants’ interactions and the swirling furniture overseeing the landscape of Beikeng village.

Seats for Seeing in Context

Considered the roots of Chinese culture, historical villages in rural China have faced major challenges through modernization and globalization. A significant issue facing villages in rural China is the decline of communities through depopulation, as the young relocate to urban centres. Village life is not an easy life, with farming the only available work option. China is a developing country and the young generation aspires to a better life.

Depopulation is also a threat to the built heritage, and historians have increasingly engaged in the countryside, arguing for the listing of significant historical buildings in the local heritage registers. While this is an important initiative, it is only sustainable if there are also accompanying measures, providing for lively social interaction in the community.



Realized by a team of researchers/designers with the assistance of local workers and villagers, Seats for Seeing is one of the public artworks at the Yanping Art Harvest festival. Design and production were realized in eight weeks. The work was partially carried out in a university’s workshop, with the final construction and assembly performed on-site. Pine was used for the frame, and bamboo, stainless steel and fabric for the seats. All parts may be unscrewed or ‘unknotted.’ The work respects the requirements of a circular economy.

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Map of Beikeng



Seats for Seeing are located in Beikeng village in the Yanping District of Nanping City, Fujian Province.

Humans have settled in the area for more than 1800 years. The district features a poetic mountainous scenery of which 75% is covered by forests. While some of the regions' traditional rammed earth and wooden residential buildings are well preserved, many others are in need of restoration to be saved from deterioration.

Beikeng village is home to several buildings of historical importance.