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Sea Art Museum

On a quiet stretch of beach along the coast of Bohai Bay in northern China, OPEN designed two art spaces: one hidden in the sand dunes, like mysterious caves; one rising out of the sea, like a solitary piece of rock. A long walkway stretching in between connects the sand and the sea, the art and the people. The two spaces create a silent dialogue by the sea.

The “rock” is formed by two lines: one perpendicular to the shore, the other perpendicular to true north, with a 15-degree angle in between. This art space has the same shape in the plan as on the façade. Geometry and order, solitude and determination: this is a gallery that opens up to the ocean, with a single workshop that serves as an artist’s retreat. The path that links the “rock” to the shore is a path for the pilgrimage of art. This path is only revealed at certain times, with the right tide and in the right moment. Its fleeting presence is not unlike the discovery of one’s personal legend—it is there, but often it simply seems unattainable.

The “rock” erupts out of the sea, enticing visitors to climb or to stop at some point along the way. Facing the sea, the gallery is open and transparent, extending from the interior to the exterior, reaching to the sky and to the sea. Attuned to the breathing of nature, this dock-like space is the place to receive artwork and visitors coming in from the sea.

Here, only one piece of art is exhibited at a given time. The pilgrim, in solitary coexistence with the artwork, comes infinitely close to its spirit. Behind the gallery, a hidden workshop is a retreat for the artist—a hermit on the sea.

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