BEIJING: 798 ART DISTRICT
As you know, I recently took an inspiration trip to Asia where I visited both Tokyo and Beijing. I wanted to go to Beijing for a couple of reasons. Oustide of the fact that Beijing is on the hot list for luxury brand designers’ latest retail outposts, Beijing is China’s largest growing city. The city is finally catching up with its bigger counterparts such as Hong Kong and Singapore with a ton of growth and developing wealth.
But it hasn’t always been this way in Beijing. The city is still very rootsy and is a beautiful combination of new growth mixed with their past culture. As in any developing city, there is usually an under-current of creativity that drives the forward movement. In Beijing, this is the creative Art scene.
I have been hearing about the Beijing Art scene for a year or so now and I wanted to get over there to witness firsthand the creative growth of this remarkable city. There are several art districts in Beijing that serve as a conglomerate of galleries, shops and outposts for artists to show their work. The 798 district is one of the bigger and most popular of the districts and is the one that we chose to visit. It is located in the Dashanzi area on the sit of state-owned factories which originally produced electronics. In 2002, artists and cultural organizations began to divide, rent out, and re-make the factory spaces, gradually developing them into galleries, art centers, artists’ studios, design companies, restaurants, and bars.
It became a “Soho-esque” area of international character, replete with “loft living,” attracting attention from all around. Bringing together contemporary art, architecture, and culture with a historically interesting location and an urban lifestyle, “798″ has evolved into a cultural concept, of interest to experts and normal folk alike, influential on our concepts of both urban culture and living space.
798 stands for much more than a three digit number: in Beijing these numbers symbolize the country’s cutting edge art movement led by the Chinese vanguard, unchained artistic personalities with alternative life goals.
What is so amazing about the galleries is that the viewer can walk through and take pictures and interact with the art without someone guarding your every move. The Chinese are proud of their work and they want it to be shared all over the world. This excited me to no end and I can’t express to you how completely blown away I was during my visit. It was by far the most inspiring and amazing day on my trip which is why I wanted to share it with you first. I’ve got a lot of pictures of the pieces that moved me the most so hopefully you will be inspired by them as well.
Stay tuned for more from my trip to Beijing and Tokyo. I have a lot to share about my wildly inspiring trip and I don’t want you to miss anything!