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Shenzhen Augmented  Data Sculpture

Shenzhen Augmented Data Sculpture is a Projected-AR Audio-Visual installation commissioned by PLD Marketing & Planning Co., Ltd.

It was exhibited on 4th December in Huaqiang North Road Commercial District to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the special economic zone of Shenzhen.

The Data Sculpture

The sculpture was conceived by Roberto Santoro and developed by Giuseppe Flora using SideFX Houdini to allow procedural creation and continuous iteration.

Shenzhen ADS First Generation

The model was generated using the actual data of the last 40 years. It aims to represent Shenzhen's development through the evolution of architecture and the community's growth populating it.

Shenzhen ADS Houdini Screenshot

We plotted Shenzhen towers’ height data, combined with the population growth, and let the system generate a cube formation. It took about ten generations and 25 versions to came up with the following result. We also added other emblematic cubic structures to represent the Civic Center and Nature as the basement of everything.


The model was finally CNC milled from blocks of hi-density polyurethane foam and painted.


The Sculpture was installed inside a deep frame in Huaqiangbei North Road in front of the Huaqiangbei Electronics Market. Every evening from 4th to 8th December the show was played  every twenty minutes.


The Projected-AR audio-visual installation

The augmentation consists of a three minute long Projection MappingShow. We conceptually divided into three chapters.

Chapter 1. Nature and Culture.

The first Chapter is a dialogue between the Sculpture and the context enclosing it. As the tree grows, the zen garden is set. As the tree flourishes, life prosper. As the culture evolves, the environment thrives together with it.

A transparent tree grows near a zen garden. It’s made of glass; it seems fragile. At the same time, its surface resembles a diamond, one of the most robust and precious materials on earth. The diamond is the solid form of carbon, the same element the human body is made of.

A mystical wind blows and carries the tree flowers and seeds to sow the surrounding environment and allow the cultures’ birth. A flock of birds is passing over the sea. A temple is built in the forest. A fishing village is expanding. A glass case folds around this biosystem; it looks as if it’s going to protect it, to preserve it like a glass bell.

Chapter 2. Success and Celebration.

The second Chapter represents the dedication of the people of Shenzhen during the last 40
years and celebrates the successes made unmistakable clear by the data examined.

As every cube representing the population growth lights up, the big cubes representing the
building height turn on. The City is building at the famous “Shenzhen Speed” in a perfect sync with the music. After achieving success, it’s time to celebrate. The Sculpture starts dancing with colors.

Chapter 3. The Future

The third chapter is celebrating the high tech electronic market, the biggest in the world. Shenzhen is the heaven of hardware. Advanced high-quality and consumer electronics come from here.

The Sculpture multiplies itself, spreading all over the backdrop. As the City opens itself to foreign investors, the Shenzhen model, at the Shenzhen speed, expands across the globe.

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