The Heritage Site
The 1895 Cultural and Creative Industry Park is located at the heart of Tangzha in the Gangzha district of Nantong. Thanks to the operation of numerous industrial groups, most notably those of the renowned businessman Zhang Jian, who founded the Dasheng textile factory and created support infrastructure in the fields of oil extraction, grain milling, steel working, sericulture and weaving, Tangzha has since become a well known area for light industry and has established an enduring model of the modern town.
The initial project was a laboratory for experimentation with the aim of safeguarding and promoting the exceptional heritage of Tangzha. The 1895 Park has a surface area of 69,000m2, of which its buildings cover 44,000m2. The project aims to rejuvenate a group of former industrial buildings mostly constructed before 1960, and brings together two objectives: to restore the factories, offices and workshops; and to harmoniously integrate an Arts and Crafts element alongside new creative industries.
The International Heritage Site for Culture
Re-using the site: The current project involves restoring the existing site and harmoniously integrating the development of new creative industries, while ensuring the protection and re-use of the site. It also seeks to transform its mode of development. Allied to the modern industrial site of Tangzha, the park is now dedicated to artistic development around Arts and Crafts, developing a project based on four main areas of activity: culture and creativity; digital media; the art trade; and entertainment and travel. Its aim is to create platforms for research, training, incubation, investment, trade and services.
Restoration of the industrial buildings: The restoration project takes into account the intrinsic attributes of each building, using three main methods:
- To restore the building while respecting the original appearance and materials
- To partially transform the building to adapt it to its new function
- To retain certain industrial symbols, re-using them in a creative manner.
The 1895 Park project was nominated for the Chinese Prix des Beaux-arts at the 5th edition of the National Environment and Art Exhibition, and won the Prix d’Or at the AiJing International Landscape Planning Competition. The Park is today considered as a major element in the service of the cultural industrial heritage of Tangzha on the international scene.
Impact of the Park
Today, the growing impact of the Park can be seen in five ways: First, it introduces experts and professional teams and establishes transactional platforms giving a meaning to its existence which it continues to deepen. Second, it sets about promoting modern technology and disseminating its values in a comprehensive and tangible way, attracting the attention of new audiences. Third, it organises creative exhibitions that fuse modern and traditional techniques and contribute to artistic exchanges between locales. Fourth, the strong cultural and creative atmosphere attracts artistic groups, businesses and investors. Finally, it seeks to enrich various types of industry, breaking down the closed space of traditional Chinese business and promoting interaction.
The 1895 Park has become a true multipurpose hub that showcases industrial development, the development of modern commerce and ecological industries, the transmission of intangible cultural heritage and the creative industries, as well as entertainment. It comprises the following zones:
Welcoming the public and showcasing the site:
- Interpretation centre for industrial heritage and projects (exhibitions, visits etc);
- Welcome centre for the public, providing information on artistic and cultural activities and the creative industries (visits, training, conferences);
- Exhibition hall focusing on the evolution of traditional crafts and the history of Tangzha and the local area.
Spaces dedicated to exhibitions and events:
- Event spaces used for conferences, performances and exhibitions;
- Exhibition and trade halls linked to the studios and workshops;
- Biennial exhibition;
- Monthly creative markets.
An integrated approach to the creative industries
- Centres for research and experimentation linked to creativity and the arts, in a variety of genres and on a variety of scales;
- Creation of large design studios which can house over 30 creatives, on a scale comparable to international professional studios;
- Medium design studio for 10-30 creatives;
- Small design studios or short-term business studio.
- Enabling larger-scale manufacture of products conceived by resident designers;
- Workshops with retail space.
Accommodation and general services:
- Hotels with innovative designs;
- Youth hostel;
- Bookshops and shops focusing on arts, crafts and design;
- Communication (printing);
- Ticket office.
In April 2016 a new project was initiated by the Park. The 1895 Print Workshop focuses on mezzotint, engraving and silkscreen printing. Popular with resident artists, the workshop is one of the best in China, due in particular to its advanced printing technique and its professional systems which rival those of the world’s leading studios.
Following the first restoration phase, the Nantong 1895 Park has developed relationships with the World Crafts Council, the China Arts and Crafts Association and the Art and Design Academy of Tsinghua University, to organise exhibitions such as the international textile art biennial ‘From Lausanne to Beijing”, the Contemporary Craft Biennial, a series of exhibitions of Chinese craft, an exhibition of lithography from Kraków, Poland, and the Russian Art Week.
The Park has become an important partner in the Nantong area for its cultural communication and inter-regional collaborations. Since 2014, in partnership with the Taiwan Cultural and Creative Industries, the Park has hosted several innovative exhibitions promoting new digital technology.