“People suffer from loneliness, anxiety, pain, and struggle during the plague. In a desperate situation, the so-called hero is every insignificant person who sticks to integrity and kindness.” – The Plague, Albert Camus
In the post-pandemic era, COVID-19 has become a collective memory of mankind. This global outbreak has profoundly changed the process and survival mode of human society, as well as reshaped the individual’s cognition of the world. When a scientific research corporate engaged in vaccine research invited VAVE to design their corporate showroom, we began to think: How to convey the unusual meaning of a company where R&D products and public incidents are closely intertwined? What kind of container can carry this meaning?
▼视频，video ©Saren Huang
How to conceptualize the scenario experience of corporate narratives?
We got a very curved, fragmented space when we were involved in the project. Initially, the architects designed the space in a straightforward way, using cellular as the form to create the showroom.
The first version of our proposal started from an architectural language with appealing visual effects. However, we kept asking ourselves: The mission of a showroom is spatial narrative, does our design meet this mission？ Do we need a beautiful “shell” or a medium that can really move people? Faced with an extremely meaningful hot topic, we have abandoned the traditional “corporate-centered” narrative, and returned to the “people-centered” narrative: Those whose life has been affected by the pandemic in history, those who fought against the pandemic, researchers, and volunteers, etc. In this showroom, we review this objective history with fine granularity.
▼展览空间，exhibition space ©Saren Huang
We developed the idea of the showroom based on a large amount of background research and communication with the owners: In dignified time, telling the stories of the era behind the products and enterprises that people do not know. Therefore, the keyword of this curation “emotion” was generated as a trigger for follow-up thinking. A corporate is never an isolated object, but a web that is constantly connected to its surrounding. Taking “emotion” as the core, in the logic of the trinity: society-enterprise-individual, we will have a more comprehensive understanding of vaccine products and the culture they carry. In this way, the showroom is not only a social proposal that resonates with the era, but also a memory container that resonates with individuals.
▼空间作为叙事的载体，space as the medium of narrative ©Saren Huang
“Even if the world is as desolate as the small town of Oran affected by the plague, as long as there is a bit of warmth, despair will not swallow people’s hearts.” – The Plague, Albert Camus
We started with “emotion” and created five scenarios. Starting from the story, we create scenarios through experience (show, performance, installation, etc.) in the theater-like space. We motivate the audience’s emotions in a more intuitive and visual way, forming a top-level strategy with “emotion” as the core.
We came up with five names for the corresponding scenarios: 1. The World of Lives; 2. Together for a Healthier World; 3. Anti COVID-19 Action; 4. Insight into Vaccines; 5. Vaccine Benefits the World. Each scenario corresponds to a situation story from different dimensions. Range from dark to bright atmosphere, the five theaters are connected one after the other, leading the audience to an emotional journey.
▼平面图，plan ©VAVE Studio
How to construct the scenario experience of corporate narratives?
展厅入口 – 体验的前置：
Entrance of the showroom – Intro experience
The exhibition starts from the entrance. We used nearly 100,000 penicillin bottles (vaccine injection bottles) to form a visual spectacle with “objects” as a symbol. The penicillin bottles are an echo of the theme, the essence of the company’s collective memory as well as a carrier of the company’s story: “Thousands of vaccine system certifications have been completed before the vaccine is officially approved for emergency use to guarantee the stability of the vaccine production process, the reliability of clinical studies, and the consistency of the vaccine from batch to batch.”
axonometric of the entrance ©VAVE Studio
We use numerous staggered piles of penicillin bottles to highlight “thousands” of inputs and efforts behind. At this moment, the significance of the bottles goes far beyond the object itself and creates a unique scene. The story and significance of the exhibit itself is the top logic of thinking behind the specific concept. What we are doing is finding a better container for this story and the significance it implies.
▼西林瓶组成的墙面，wall composed of piles of penicillin bottles ©Saren Huang
剧场一：生命之境 – 用微观去撬动宏观
Scenario one: The World of Lives – Activating macro from micro
Activating macro from micro is the narrative strategy of the prologue. The research and development on vaccines are extremely microscopic, but it triggers a macro social impact that is relevant to everyone’s life. The narrative plot of this part is to map the history of outbreaks in human history from the microscopic pathogens themselves, as well as to point from the history of outbreaks to why corporate make vaccine products.
axonometric of The World of Lives ©VAVE Studio
We juxtapose micro and macro perspectives. The micro perspective is turned into a lifting and lowering virus show, allowing the audience to enter the micro scenario. And then bridging to the establishment and development of vaccine companies through the history of global anti-epidemic which constitutes a macro perspective. The audience is able to see how the corporate responded to the demands of society in the context of the hepatitis A outbreak and how they developed into a core corporation of national livelihood today step by step.
▼微观情景剧场，micro scenario ©Saren Huang
剧场二：同行之路 – 双线的共振
Scenario two: Together for a Healthier World – Parallel Resonance
With vaccine products as the node, the 20-year development path of Sinovac is always parallel with society. We hope to present this resonating relationship through a two-line narrative strategy. It is difficult to cause inner resonance when we roughly walk through history, because we are the spectators. However, time is not an abstract concept. It is composed of every year, every month, every day, every second. Many stories are happening on every scale.
axonometric of Together for a Healthier World ©VAVE Studio
When we shift our perspective and focus on an extremely fine grain size to present a general picture of the people and their lives affected by the epidemic in 20 years. Let the audience feel the development of this 20-year period, it is not only an abstract number, but also an essence of countless stories.
▼展厅概览，overall view of the exhibition hall ©Saren Huang
History itself is not a silent word description, there are many images of events in each historical moment. In addition to a textual description, we use images to build up the scenario of the space and form a three-dimensional, wrapped-up image collection. We depict the entire historical context in a visual language that is more striking than words or data, allowing the audience to travel through time in three dimensions.
▼包裹式的图像集合，wrapped -up image collection ©Saren Huang
We place the incidents of the epidemics that occurred throughout history as a bright line on the main wall: there are farewells, healings, sorrowful and uplifting. There is a corporate solution underneath corresponding to each outbreak. The storyline of corporate development is hidden in the dynamic relationship of “epidemic-solution”. The 20-year development of Sinovac and the impact of the social epidemic outbreak on people’s lives form two storylines that resonate with each other. This scenario is an anti-pandemic road, where people walk through the social and corporate journey to fight the epidemic.
▼展览细部，exhibition details ©Saren Huang
剧场三：克冠行动 – 无声的声音
Scenario three: Anti COVID-19 Action – The sound of silence
The most important part of the anti-pandemic is undoubtedly the struggle with COVID-19. Starting from the outbreak of COVID-19, there is no power, no class. Everyone is an ordinary person affected by pandemics. From December 19 to the present, COVID-19 has become a collective memory of humanity. The global epidemic has resonated most strongly with people: from the initial panic and anxiety about the unknown virus, to the clarification and research by experts and scholars, and then to unite and fight. Until now, we are still living in a world affected by the epidemic.
The narrative strategy of this area is to return to “people‘s perspective” and go back to the city formed by the voices of people during the pandemic. The narrative plot is formed by “the voices of social media”, “the voices of all of Sinovac”, and “the voice of Mr. Yin Weidong”, who is a researcher, reflecting the real life of people affected by the COVID-19. Focusing from the social to the company, and then to the individual, the narrative is developed in the logic of macro to micro.
axonometric of Anti COVID-19 Action ©VAVE Studio
The scenario concept in this theater is conceived in 3 sections. The audience’s first impression is a recreated scenario of broadcasting TV news that which a lot of headlines that have been made since the outbreak of COVID. This allows the audience to see the social state at the time and to have a strong resonance with the life they have experienced before, which evokes emotions. The next wall on the right is the “Voices of Sinovac”, which uses people with different identities who participated in the R&D action as visual images to explain Sinovac’s anti-COVID action as well as a timeline of vaccine development.
▼展区中心同时播放的新闻画面，TV news broadcasting in the center of the space ©Saren Huang
▼墙面投影研发人员的讲解，projection of the R&D team on the wall ©Saren Huang
Finally comes the core installation in this area: “Chairman Message”. Yin Weidong’s office and the epidemic situation map on the wall in his office were restored in the way of “physical scene” + “stereo imaging”. Facing the audience, Mr. Yin Weidong is no longer the chairman of a head company, but a researcher who is facing COVID as an ordinary audience, speaking his thoughts on the pandemic with an objective and neutral attitude. This equal dialogue and communication allowed the audience to not only see the vaccine products, but also to communicate and share perspectives with the flesh and blood people behind the products.
▼核心装置区，core installation area ©Saren Huang
剧场四：疫苗之益 – 可爱的病原体研究所
Scenario four: Insight Into Vaccines – A Lovely Pathogen Research Institute
The five theaters serve their own content and stories with different properties so that the audience’s experience will have more dramatic experience. The atmosphere of the space has a big change since the audience comes from a slightly heavy topic to an exhibition area defined as science popularization.
In this area, our narrative strategy is to take a microscopic view and give emotions and personalities to the viruses. Imagine: different viruses have their own personalities, and these microcosm inhabitants have their own favorite people (elderly people, young people, children) with their own characteristics. The audience is able to perceive the virus through this anthropomorphic cartoon image that is endowed with emotion. They will no longer be afraid of viruses when they get to know it.
axonometric of Insight Into Vaccines ©VAVE Studio
We also line up six sections of vaccine development content through “A Pathogen’s Journey”, turning the rigorous process of vaccine development into a storytelling journey, so that visitors are willing to watch the popular science content with the guide of an alive and kicking virus.
▼展览空间概览，overall view of the exhibition space ©Saren Huang
This exhibit is not just for kids. It is also very difficult for adults to read very scientific and rigorous information. How to explain a rigorous and complex scientific knowledge system in a more relaxed atmosphere that people are willing to accept? From the perspective of communication, it is a question worth deep consideration and research.
▼丰富的展示内容，various contents displayed in the space ©Saren Huang
剧场五：福益全球 – 许下一个心愿
Scenario five: Vaccine Benefits the World – Make a Wish
Emotion has always been the keyword throughout the showroom, leading us to think about the way to empathize and sympathize with the audience. How to follow the keyword “emotion” is the core demand of implementing the narrative of our entire showroom. Regarding the ending of the overall narrative, we actually discussed plenty of options with the owner during the process. However, we end up with two warm topics of vision instead of grand corporate narrative: future planning, global strategic layout, etc.
axonometric of Vaccine Benefits the World ©VAVE Studio
The first one is called taking off the mask: With the vision of saying goodbye to COVID-19, we designed a motion capture interactive experience that allows the audience to erase the grey life in COVID through gestures and return to the normal life without wearing a mask. The second one is Trace of Time: Including slices of a person’s age in a lifetime and the health advice that they have heard, with coverage of vaccine as a protective barrier. We hope that all the audience, whether elderly, middle-aged, or small children, can find themselves in the stories in the installation.
▼交互体验的展览空间，interactive exhibition space ©Saren Huang
We designed a hidden short circulation outside in addition to the complete visitor route: a virus tunnel that the audience can go directly from the second exhibit area to the fourth science exhibit area.
axonometric of the Virus Tunnel ©VAVE Studio
This tunnel is specially designed for children as a quick circulation. From a scientific point of view, we create an interactive experience tunnel base on “Y-shaped antibody synapse” as inspiration. Some physical model of the coronavirus is hanging on the ceiling so that children can go to the science exhibition area under the protection of antibodies. This interesting tunnel experience would arouse audience’s interest as a buffer area for the science population section.
▼病毒隧道入口，entrance to the virus tunnel ©Saren Huang
▼隧道内部空间，inside the tunnel ©Saren Huang
The showroom is profound and joyful at the same time, expressing both deep concerns for this society and positive emotions. The exhibition space is subordinate to the narrative, and the narrative is subordinate to the content. The true significance is how to convey the content and tell the story better rather than superb space decoration skills.
From the perspective of design skills, we use situations, emotions, scenarios, and plots to give the audience a great experience. However, from the origin of the design, only when we create the showroom as a mirror and let the audience see themselves can the most profound connection emerge.
▼展览细部，details of the exhibition ©Saren Huang
设计方：VAVE Studio 翡梧
Project name: Sinovac Experience Centre Beijing
Project type: Design
Design: VAVE Studio 翡梧
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Design year: 2021
Completion Year: 2022
Leader designer & Team: Haijie Hu, Wenbo Chen, Yanru Ge, Ziqin Fu, Ziyao li, Bian Wu, Wenchao Guo, Pengcheng Li, Tingjie Lin, Junfang Guan, Yizi Qian, Shichao Yang, Yaowen Fu
Project location: Beijing, China
Gross built area: 900 ㎡
Photo credit: Saren Huang
Partner: Kangye (Shanghai) Exhibition Co.,Ltd., INSpump, Vision Line, Shanghai ChaoLi Exhibition Co., Ltd., Shanghai Zhixin Lighting & Audio Engineering Co., Ltd.
Clients: Sinovac Life Sciences Co., Ltd.