Tianzifang in Shanghai

The Bohemia Cafe & Bar is one of the most flourishing bars in Tianzifang (田子坊) . Photos: baidu.com

 

Founded in 1930, Tianzifang, originally called Zhichengfang, is located on Tai Kang Road in Luwan District of Shanghai. On December 28th, 1998, Yilufa Cultural Development Co. moved to Tai Kang Road, unveiling the development of Tai Kang Road as street for art. Before long, well-known artists such as Song Yifei, Er Dongqiang (Deke Erh), Wang Jieyin and Wang Jiajun and some artwork stores moved into Tianzifang as well. The once unknown street gradually transformed into a paradise for art.

 

The name "Tianzifang" was chosen by Huang Yongyu, a famous Chinese painter. It has the same pronunciation as the name of an old artist in ancient China. It means that Tianzifang would be the gathering place for various talents and great art.

 

Tianzifang was established through the reconstruction of some Shikumen-style buildings, which are characteristic of Shanghai's residential buildings, on Tai Kang Road. It is now a fashion landmark, a cluster district for creative industries, and a creation base for artists. There are more than 40 artwork stores in Tianzifang and over 20 small studios and design offices. The art-oriented production integrates people's longing for happiness and their views of life into various works.

 

Tianzifang originally served as a residential neighborhood. Thus, besides all the creative stores, galleries and photographic exhibitions, cafes, bars and small restaurants, common places are also found here. The air is always filled with the aroma of coffee and tea. Many Shanghai citizens still live in Tianzifang, and they live in an "outdated" way-- still using the old green pillar-box. Yet in their eyes, such a lifestyle is surprisingly peaceful and beautiful.

 

With a strong reputation both at home and abroad, Tianzifang has become one of the most influential gathering areas for the creative industries in Shanghai.     


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