Arts in Nanluoguxiang

Updated: 2008-01-03 17:21
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Not far from the touristy spot of Hou Hai is a Nanluoguxiang.

It’s a narrow street lined with old hutongs converted into bars, shops and cafes.

And in the last two years it has developed into a trendy area.

One of the pioneers is Dominic Johnson-Hill, owner of Plastered T-shirts.

His shop features iconic images of Beijing and China on a T-shirt. And for him, the neighborhood was the perfect place for him to start his business.

DOMINIC: What I like about Nanluoguxiang is very different to many other hutongs, or commercial hutongs area in Beijing. If you look at Houhai, it's pretty many bars and Karaokes, it's not very inspiring. And Nanluoguxiang is, I think is the creative hub of Beijing right now. It's not really suitable for bars, so it has very small outlets and it's very residential. So right now it’s really taking the right part.

PP from Grifted agrees.

Originally from New York, the designer has found lots of inspiration around her, particularly from talking with friends and things she sees in the city.

Her line of products includes umbrellas, greeting cards, lanterns, T-shirts and dolls.

Grifted only opened four months ago and locals and foreigners alike find her items quirky and fun.

PP: It's got a certain community feel about it, that you can find what I haven’t seen elsewhere in Beijing. Just everybody in neighborhood is very warm and very close. That's what I like about it.

Further down the street is The Pottery Workshop. The owner is Hong Kong-born Caroline Cheng. She studied in Jingdezhen, a place renowned for its ceramics.

Not only does it feature Cheng’s work, but also local and overseas artists.

While the street is evolving quickly into a new destination for locals and visitors alike, some shop owners hope the place won’t become too commercial and retain its charm of old and new.