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Shikumen

#china studio #china #interaction design

// Mickaël Denié

This project falls into the context of intercultural relations between France and China. It looks at issues of "local" and "global" raised by globalization and particularly internationalization. The philosophy of this project is simple: "Think local, expand globally", rather than the famous "Think global, act locally". Today’s consumer society on a global scale has led us into a cycle of "buy, use, dispose".

My standpoint sheds another light on the situation. It is based on the premise that people may want to enjoy a product without necessarily wanting to buy it.

I see it as a form of collaborative consumption, of the kind that can be found in Shikumen, the traditional Shanghai residences.

The idea was to take the basic concept of a Shikumen, and to reinject it into a solution for modern apartments. The key features were retained: confined space, controlled access, shared space, interaction, word of mouth, etc.

The site/service designed makes it possible to create online trust, to share products/services offline, and to improve social relationships in the neighbourhood. Its puts neighbours in touch with one another, on the basis of a local social network.

Just like the Shikumen, the site/service can be accessed in two possible ways: one public and one private. Using public access, you can only access the platform and observe what’s going on. With private access, you need to have an account and a user identity in order to interact in the community. The system’s transparency helps to build up trust.

The identity and aesthetics of the service and the typeface of the logo evoke the idea’s Asian origin. But it remains pure and minimalist so that everyone can identify with it. The page templates are simple. Everyone can find their way around easily, whether they’re on "Neighbourhoods", "My profile" or "Neighbours’ profiles".

The site uses the various benefits of the modern web system (HTML5+CSS3) as well as javascript. It can thus be consulted from any computer.

If for some reason a user can’t find what he/she is looking for, there are two possible solutions:

- widen the search to other neighbourhoods

- ask for assistance from an official guide.

This community networking system is based on the idea of public service, and thus is free for all to use, being funded by the local council who, incidentally, will also benefit from the site in terms of an easier management of neighbourhoods/districts.

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