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City Gather Park: Where art, nature and people come together

In the City Gather Park in Changsha, China, Chengdu-based Dean Design merges natural ecology and urban life with installations to create a memorable and poetic respite in the heart of the city.

<strong>City Gather Park: Where art, nature and people come together</strong>

City Gather Park is the first high-end project of City Series planned for the Xiangjiang New District in Changsha. The urban park offers a counterpoint to the acceleration of urbanisation and technology-driven metropolitan lifestyles by emphasising the relationship and integration between people and nature. While anchored by high-profile commercial amenities, the City Gather Park is experienced in its entirety from within – through personal discoveries of its winding paths, scenic views, landscape arrangements, outdoor furniture and sculptures. 

City Gather Park China by Dean Design

Envisioning the park as a forest-style community where urbanites could explore nature within the city, Dean Design wanted to realise the unique potential of the site through integration of aesthetics with natural scenery and daily life. Dean Design composed a natural landscape that could be compatible with everyday urban life via a series of different zones anchored by sculptural elements. There are distinct yet connected spaces for public activities, fostering a community where art and nature intertwine as part of the everyday experience.

By designing the landscape to correspond with the views along the winding pathways, Dean Design sought to recreate the experience of visiting a natural wooded environment, enhanced by man-made artistic pieces. The intent was to bring a sense of vitality and light-heartedness to those exploring City Gather Park. The forest-inspired park took cues from the graceful imagery of deer to create inquiries into the relationship between nature and human experience, which ultimately informed the final design of the installations. 

Related: Moroso’s Pebble Rubble spotlights the benefits that nature has on wellbeing

City Gather Park China by Dean Design

“For us, landscape sculpture is not simply a physical form, but a metaphorical bridge between humanity and nature,” says Siyuan Tao, Founder of Dean Design. “The association of art, place, landscape and emotion provides both a conceptual and intuitive link for the public to the project’s underlying meaning: a symbiosis of scenery and emotion.”

Aside from the deer sculptures, Dean Design injected playfulness and delight into City Gather Park with other whimsical and nature-inspired installations. Sculptural interventions like The Mushroom Cloud and The Ring were placed at strategic moments of park exploration to express playful creativity, foster lively interactions and attract visitors to discover all corners of the park. 

Related: A sense of discovery in Hafary Gallery conceived by Park + Associates

forest-inspired park China by Dean Design

The children’s playground, featuring whimsical fairy-tale characters, was created to integrate parent-child interaction, play activities, and opportunities for families to interact with unique playground elements. They include the ‘deer house’ slide, colourful ground surface, seesaws, and fitness equipment that provide tactile connections to the park.

By intertwining art and nature, the City Gather Park becomes a light-hearted response to the diverse lifestyles and social needs of the city dwellers. Addressing the complexity of a city setting and presenting a space for relaxation and self-reflection in the city, the park reinforces the green, ecological values at the heart of its design in a way that is both fun-spirited and accessible to urban inhabitants from all walks of life.

Photography by Chill Shine
City Gather Park China by Dean Design
City Gather Park China by Dean Design
forest-inspired park China by Dean Design
City Gather Park China by Dean Design
forest-inspired park China by Dean Design


Changsha Poly·City Gather

Client: Hunan Poly Real Estate Development Ltd.
Location: Changsha, China
Design Firm: Dean Design
Design Team: Zhou Rong, Xin Yongguang
Landscape Area: 10,000 sqm
Completion Date: January 2021

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