top of page


Shenzhen, China


At the invitation of Zigeng Wang, Curator Urbanism\Architecture Bi-City Biennale of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, Mr. Ma Ning, founding partner of MARS Studio, designed an art installation themed "Hedgehog’s Dilemma" for the urban animal section of the UABB.

There stands a famous experiment in psychology realm: in winter season, two hedgehogs will keep each other warm in order to survive. However, if they became too physically close, spikes stung the other; too far away, and you won't be able to withstand the cold. They adapt and struggle until they find the perfect distance, safe from harm, and warm enough to surpass the winter together. This is known as the Hedgehog’s Dilemma.

Hedgehogs, as common urban specie, are used to dodging in the depths of discoverable bushes. When they sense any sign of danger, they will curl up into a ball shape and equip thorns all over for possible battles. The Hedgehog’s Dilemma derived from their unique and physiological characteristics.
The curved surface, which rotates fluidly up and down, forms a semi-open space like the natural habitat of thickets where hedgehogs live. Two hemispherical arcs of different heights curl inward and contract at the junction, forming a third space outside the two spaces. This creates enough space for two or even three hedgehogs to live together harmoniously without stabbing each other. It also implies that once the social space overlaps, social distance can be created through this third space.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma alludes to the "psychological distance effect" in human social interactions: close relationships are often fraught with friction and conflict, which ironically is not as easy as any first contact. Don't we always demonstrate the pointiest side to those closest to us? Perhaps the Hedgehog’s Dilemma can provide a solution. Hedgehog to hedgehog, hedgehog to man, man to man, man to nature, there is no lack of time and space distance maintenance in the law of survival, the relationship between people can be improved because of the " Hedgehog’s Dilemma ", then, will the harmony between human and nature be realized because of the " Hedgehog’s Dilemma "?

Design Type: Art Installation at UABB


Design Date:  2022.08 - 2022.12

Principal Architect: Ma Ning

Design Team: Jiahui Zhao , Zifeng Tan,  Shiyu Liu

Project Location: Shenzhen, China

Photography:  Luo Canhui

bottom of page