A collision of cultural "chinoiserie" elements and artificial intelligence generation design method

The project that Urban installations 「Chi(ai)noiserie」 designed by Lin architecture consists of a design method study combining artificial intelligence-generated tools and traditional elements. 「Chi(ai)noiserie」 is a public interactive medium with a unique Chinese artistic form and charm.


front view at night
Photo credit: Guo Jing

Technical Background

The design attempts to use an artificial intelligence-assisted linguistic modeling system to help designers refine and optimize prototypes and generate derivative deformations and final forms of prototypes through image model training. Based on the designer's prototype language, this eliminates the need for repeated modeling exhaustion. The tools used are stable diffusion, control net, and model training auto DL.


front view at the bund
Photo credit: Liu Songkai


side view at night
Photo credit: Guo Jing


close-up detail
Photo credit: Guo Jing

Cultural background

As an element of traditional Chinese culture, calligraphy is a wordless poem, an invisible dance, a pictureless painting, and silent music. In the process of writing, calligraphy forms a three-dimensional form of calligraphy by "swinging", "moving", "lifting and pressing", "twisting and turning", etc. The results of calligraphy are two-dimensional, but the movement of calligraphy is three-dimensional. Based on the logic of calligraphy formation, countless forms and styles can be created.


close -up at the bund
Photo credit: Liu Songkai


close -up at the bund
Photo credit: Liu Songkai


close- up detail
Photo credit: Liu Songka

Prototype Background

Combining the interactive nature of outdoor installations and pedestrians who can sit, stand, move, lie down, play, and observe from multiple angles, the creation is made in combination with the calligraphic modeling form. The three elements of space, art, and traditional culture are integrated together in the form of an outdoor installation.


aerial view
Photo credit: Guo Jing


slide view at night
Photo credit: Guo Jing

Design Process

The first step is to study the forms generated by calligraphy and to create various formal languages. In the process of writing calligraphy, the four strokes of "swing", "flat movement", "lifting and pressing", and "twisting and turning" form the three-dimensional space of calligraphy. The "paths and lines" of calligraphy and the "cross-sections" of brush movements form "three-dimensional calligraphy".


AI generation diagram
Photo credit: lin architecture

The second step is to train the model to analyze the types. The prototypes are identified and the prompt engine is used to generate relevant design vocabulary, including form, material, stylistic language, etc. (smooth, flowing, graceful, elegant, undulating, serpentine, etc.). The control net is mainly derived from the specific writing logic of calligraphy and the deconstruction of the radicals of Chinese characters.


Form research
Photo credit: Vic Yang

The third step is to select the optimal intention for deepening the design. Combining specific functional use with the formal requirements of the design, we choose to generate categories and then continue to deepen them. One direction of deepening control is at the rational level, considering the needs of different interactive behaviors; the second direction of deepening control is at the perceptual level, considering the aesthetics of forms and spatial forms.


behavior diagram
Photo credit: lin architecture

The fourth step is the construction optimization, material design, and structural design. The optimization of the construction is achieved through the following processes:

  1. -Establish the overall 3D model to determine the shape.
  2. -Deepen the internal steel frame according to the 3D model.
  3. -Decompose the model and the steel frame structure according to processing needs.
  4. -Create the shaping mold of the artificial stone according to the decomposition model.
  5. -Set the artificial stone on the shaping mold after softening it with a professional oven.
  6. -Create the splicing mold and combine it with the steel frame structure.
  7. -Place the shaped artificial stone, according to the model number, on the splicing model splicing molding.
  8. -Detail and polish materials.

They used artificial stone to simulate the ink dipping process, with pure black as the main color, and white light to strengthen the border.


close-up detail
Photo credit: Guo Jing

About LIN architecture

LIN architecture is a cutting-edge design and research institution in Asia that is dedicated to space research, design, and education. The creative field of the studio covers architecture, urban, landscape, interior, plane, interactive technology, cultural communication, design education, and virtual construction. Creative media includes publications, exhibitions, videos, and other forms of media art.