Weather: Part II

Chongming Island, China.

Part II takes place in Xianqiao Village in Chongming Island, right outside of Shanghai in China. While Iceland has the population of almost 330.000 on an island 103,000 km2, Chongming Island has roughly twice as much people on an island that is a hundred times smaller.

From a big variation of local resources in every aspect, Chongming Island becomes somewhat sustainable. We stayed 45 days in the Xianqiao village. Through observation, communication and our personal perception of the place, we found a path for our project. We are using local materials and production to find a process that makes a byproduct from locals´ daily life.


On Chongming Island humidity is inevitable and upon our arrival we found it almost unbearable, specially on rainy days. Everything gets damp; clothes, sheets and even the floors of the house. This was one of the first things we noticed on our arrival here.

Traditional cooking oven
Traditional chinese cooking oven is a standard equipment in the houses in the village and are used to make meals two or three times a day. Any flammable leftover materials are collected and stored for burning; straws, wood and even bamboo.

Bamboo in the village
Bamboo grows fast and is a strong material, in some cases stronger than steel. Therefore it is a suitable material in the village in all aspects of living. It is used as a building material, for hanging up laundry and to help small plants grow. Within 2 km radius from our house there are around 5 families growing bamboo in a small scale. One local villager that has a small bamboo forest informed us that he started to grow it to cool down the area during the summer. He made shafts for tools from the best bamboo, other he sold to neighbours and use the bad ones for burning.


Bamboo charcoal
Throughout time people have perfected the ways to work with bamboo and its many great uses. Bamboo charcoal has been known for its ability to absorb. It can cleanse air, remove odor, dehumidify and cure mould in houses. It seemed to us that this was not being used by the villagers. We asked ourselves if we could make our own bamboo charcoal using leftover bamboo from the village.

Even though the bamboo charcoals are useful both to clean and dehumidify air, we don't consider charcoal to be the final destination of the leftover bamboo. According to local people, used charcoal can be an excellent fertiliser for the agricultural site. The lifecycle then begins again with new bamboo growing from the soil.

Charcoal pot
After several experiments and improvements, we successfully burned bamboo into charcoal. This small charcoal pot is a sealed steel box with a chimney, made in a local steel workshop. We cut bad bamboo that the farmer didnt want into pieces and sealed it into our charcoal pot. Then it is put in the middle of the flame in the cooking oven for 15-20 minutes. While eating the food that was cooked, the pot cools down and after, the bamboo charcoals are ready.

Xianqiao Daily
This charcoal pot is a tool to make a byproduct from Xianqiao's daily life. When the locals are cooking in their traditional oven, they can make charcoal in the meantime. The charcoal they made can then be used in their house to dehumidify objects or air.