Design week spotlights Dashila'r revival effort

( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-09-02 07:21:44

Design week spotlights Dashila'r revival effort

A street scene from Dashila'r, one of Beijing's oldest alleyway communities. Provided to China Daily

Dashila'r, one of Beijing's oldest alleyway communities, will launch a new revival program called Plug-In Stations this year. The project encourages the design, art, performance and retail communities to join in the revival of the old neighborhood.

One of the oldest shopping areas in Beijing, Dashila'r dates back more than 500 years; today it struggles with its dated infrastructure and aging community. The project will be showcased from Sept 25 to Oct 3 as part of the Beijing Design Week, an annual weeklong event that celebrates the value of design and design talents in China.

Creative pop-up shops and spaces will be set up on the street in Dashila'r by designers, artists, performers and craftsmen to regenerate the community. Restaurateurs and retailers can take part as well. One Plug-In Station will be around 20 square meters, and all the stations will have a standard visual image and be promoted as a whole.

The Plug-In Stations will be located in the liveliest places, organizers say. All the vendors will be featured on a map, a smartphone app and a guidance system. All the organizations and vendors will be subsidized for the exhibition cost and the venue fee. Nonprofit exhibitions will not have to pay the venue fee.

At the same time, the Dashila'r Pilot, a project that was initiated last year, will be expanded this year. Architects, artists and the local community will use designs to solve a series of public problems in the area.

As a long-term project, the Dashila'r Pilot invites the design community to set examples for the local community. The project will focus on architecture, communal facilities and handicrafts this year.

The project will choose a representative house in the community and show how renovations can be done in a small space. It will also choose a typical traditional courtyard to improve its heating system and lighting, as well as the kitchen and toilet facilities.

The project also aims to improve the garbage-disposal system and communal facilities. There will be a handcrafts store on Yanshou Jie. Designers and handicrafts artists will work together to promote the survival of traditional handcrafts in modern times.

The Dashila'r project made its overseas debut in June, as part of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014. The exhibition was initiated by the Beijing Design Week as a platform to show the urban planning and architecture in China.

"It shows not only the evolution of Chinese cities, but also how the city improves in order to accommodate its people. The Dashila'r community is an epitome of the Chinese cities," Zeng Hui, deputy director of Beijing Design Week's organizing committee, was quoted by the Shenzhen Economic Daily as saying.

More than 20 houses and sculptures have been built there by renowned architects and designers including Kenya Hara since 2009, Wang Zhizhong, deputy construction director of the Glass Street in Dashila'r, told the paper.

Sun Yuanqing contributed to this story.

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