Li Naihan, “Mind Palace,” 2017, Virtual reality experience
and installation, Dimensions variable. Shanghai Himalayas Musume installation view, 2017


Responding to the role of da Vinci as an inventor and a visionary, Li Naihan has developed “Mind Palace,” a virtual reality experience that explores methods and practices of future trailblazers, as well as the forces of nature. Towards the end of his life Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated with making a series of charcoal drawings whose animated scenes demonstrated destruction wrought by the mighty force of nature. Da Vinci’s studies of movement were unusual for his era, but contemporary times offer greater possibilities through the invention of simulation via computer modeling technology. “Mind Palace” is the result of the collaborative efforts of an architect, a composer, and a virtual reality computer engineer. The physical stage and the narrative of the virtual environment were set up by architect Li Naihan, while the engineers of Beijing Yuye Tech brought the computer model to life, creating a ‘space’ that can be walked within and interacted with. Visitors are able to experience elements of wind, water, and fire. Composer Dyan Ebrahimian provides another interpretative layer of movement through the introduction of music created in response to the concepts of “A Deluge.” His composition combines elements from Renaissance-era instruments, as well as the electronic synthesizers of today.

After graduating from Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL), Li Naihan first collaborated with Ai Weiwei as coordinator for the Jinhua Architectural Park development. She later worked as independent architect and designer for architectural and graphic design projects of different scales. Her finished constructions include Keruo Space, a space for practices in Caochangdi, and the Royal Kitchen restaurant and shop inside the Forbidden City. She has established BAO Atelier Hong Kong Ltd.

In 2016, her CCTV Wardrobe and Birmingham Library Drawer from I am a Monument series were featured in the exhibition Alarmak! at the XXI Triennale di Milano, and her original crates series were featured in Expended Housing exhibition of the triennale. CCTV Wardrobe has been officially acquired by M+ Museum, Hong Kong and featured at its design department’s inaugurating exhibition M+’s debut design exhibition “Shifting Objectives: Design from the M+ Collection”. She is currently living and working in between Beijing and Shanghai.