Shenzhen L&A Design Holding Limited: Runner-Up of World Design Awards 2022. Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park is a unique low-carbon, environmentally friendly and non-powered parent-child theme park in northern China. In 2018, it was planned to renovate and upgrade the existed barren old site of the Children’s Park for Tangshan World Horticultural Exposition 2016 (hereafter: WHE). Complied with China’s industrial trend of “culture & tourism integration”, this project explored and completed the cultural tourism practice in Tangshan during the “Post-WHE Era”, turning an unpopular idle site into a children’s playground for tourists and helping Tangshan transform from an industrial city to a cultural tourism city. The park applied intangible cultural heritage—shadow puppets as its main design element, upheld the design concept of “dancing shadow puppets, marching Tangshan City” and employed the design method of children’s playground to change the public’s stereotypes for this traditional culture, create a new way of playing it and make this intangible culture heritage step into our daily life.
Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park is located in the Nanhu Eco-tourism Attraction, which acts as the “City Living Room” in Tangshan. Phase I of this project covers an area of about 131,000 square meters and opened to the public in October 2018; phase II covers an area of about 350,000 square meters and opened in May 2019.
There are more than 30 CyberStar destinations, such as Rotating Shadow Puppet, Giant Shadow Puppet, Shadow Puppet Theater, Black Forest, Low-carbon Life Pavilion, Bubble Park, Water Park, Rain Garden, etc., as well as more than 120 special landscape facilities for children.
Nanhu Eco-tourism Attraction was once a coal mining settlement with a harsh ecological environment. After years of unremitting treatment, Nanhu has become a model of urban renewal in Tangshan, turning Tangshan from the industrial-oriented into the cultural-tourism-oriented city. That WHE held in the Nanhu Eco-tourism Attraction was an opportunity to show the results of Tangshan’s post-earthquake reconstruction and ecological management. It also indicated that Tangshan had determined to transform itself into a resource-based city and keep its pace of sustainable development. Since then, Tangshan has unfolded the “Post-WHE Era”. In 2018, as the trend of “culture & tourism integration” started in China, it was urgent to renovate WHE’s old site of children’s park.
The existed project site belonged to the Nanhu Eco-tourism Attraction. Except for some old rotational moulding children’s amusement facilities scattered around, the site was deserted with less popularity, and the trees there could not provide good shading. As a result, an overall planning should be carried out to reactivate the popularity of this area and enhance the charm and influence of Nanhu Eco-tourism Attraction as well as Tangshan City.
How to empower the culture and tourism functions to this project through creativity and design? How to implement the design within two months? These were the problems and challenges in this project before the first phase of the park was completed.
The design team and project client have reached a consensus that the design of this park must be started from Tangshan’s characteristic regional culture. After an in-depth investigation in the local area, the team got inspiration from the ancient Chinese traditional art—shadow puppetry. They made it a new interpretation according to contemporary aesthetic concepts and ideas. Therefore, starting from the design concept of “dancing shadow puppets, marching Tangshan City”, the park is not only based on local culture, but also serving for the future and the world. Shadow puppets were introduced as the main theme to visually connect the entire landscaping area, amusement facilities, architectures, artworks, IP images, and derivative cultural creations together, changing the public’s stereotype of shadow puppets, turning this intangible culture heritage from a single “output mode” into an “interactive experience”, so that it can truly step into our daily life.
The park has been designed and constructed since August 2018. In order to open it to the public during the Chinese National Day holidays, the project adopted the EPC method of general contracting. When it was in the most intensive construction period, there were nearly 30 designers on the site at the same time to fully control the construction effect. The design team independently developed, designed and customized most of the amusement facilities in the park, even guided the whole process of product control, infrastructure embedding, installation and debugging, etc., altogether producing and integrating about 100 pieces of equipment.
Among them, the large-scale structure “Giant Shadow Puppet” is the core recreation facility originally developed by the park. It is about 50 meters wide and 20 meters high at the top point, consisting of a large platform and two high towers. The climbing facilities, slides and other installations are well combined with shadow puppet art, integrating amusement, interaction, and shadow puppet culture into a multi-dimensional entertainment experience for visitors. The inside and outside of this Giant are both recreational and ornamental, allowing visitors to experience sensory stimulation and appreciate the shadow puppet art while playing.
Shadow puppet inheritors were specially invited to select the world’s representative shadow puppet image for “Shadow Puppet Theater”. By enclosing weathering steel plates through artistic treatment, they created a wonderful stage for the world shadow puppet exhibition. When the light-emitting control switch on the ground being stepped, each shadow puppet would play its regional characteristic music while changing its color, on the whole forming a sound and light interactive shadow puppet theater. In addition, the Low-carbon Life Pavilion and Rain Garden in the park are edutainment venues allowing children to experience the power of nature while having fun, cultivating them environmental protection concepts.
Social Value and Influence
Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park has been successfully built up through a series of communication, planning and design. Its construction is a meaningful process of exploring and completing the cultural tourism practice in Tangshan during the “Post-WHE Era”. This is China’s first non-powered parent-child park with intangible cultural heritage shadow puppets as the theme. It effectively extends the original concept of “low-carbon and environmental protection” to create an interesting, educational and challenging large-scale comprehensive themed park for family entertainment, study and additional activities. It is also the largest low-carbon, environmentally friendly and non-powered park in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region.
Imprinted with the regional cultural symbols, the park is one of the important projects of 2019 Tangshan “Nanhu Times” Cultural and Leisure Tour. On the park operation and management, the creation of themed amusement parks is an ideal complement to the organization of characteristic cultural activities. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, tourism industry faced a severe crisis in 2020, but Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park has made outstanding contributions on it. In the process of helping the tourism industry itself, the park has been innovating and seeking changes. Its passenger flow has achieved a reversed growth and the highest single-day revenue reached 500,000 RMB. In 2020, the tourist attendance has reached 300,000.
Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park is built under the background of encouraging “culture & tourism integration” in China. It creatively provides a feasible path to activate intangible cultural heritage, and has made a strong demonstration for the development of the Tangshan “Post-WHE Era” plot. Inspired by this project, series cultural tourism projects have further accelerated the transformation of Tangshan from an “industrial and mining resource-based” city to a “cultural tourism” city. It is also a strong evidence for Tangshan to enhance the city charm through the integration of culture and tourism. Today, Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park has become a local landmark of tourist attractions. Not only the park brings much joy to tourists there, it also becomes a weekend destination for neighboring residents.
Shenzhen L&A Design Holding Limited
Tangshan La V-onderland Shadow Play Park
World Design Awards Category
Public Landscape Design Built
Beijing La V-onderland Design, La V-onderland Industrial Design R&D Center, L&A Design EPC Center, Xituo Amusement Equipment Co., Ltd
©LIN Tao, Shengbo Yuantang, QIU Ripei
L&A GROUP is one of the leading cultural and creative companies dedicated to land planning, urban design, landscape architecture and resort planning in China. L&A was established in 2001, now has 29 branch offices in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, etc., also sub-brand “La V-onderland” ”Floral Fairyland”. Till now L&A has accomplished about 4000 reputable landscape and urban design projects in China and takes pride in its dynamic international design team, with over 1700 professionals from all over the world, as well as experienced local registered architects, landscape architects, planners and project managers.