Zhong Shan’s Surrealist “Free Fall” Exhibition

Beijing's ArtDepot showcases the artist's captivating oil-on-silk works

by Alessandro De Toni The masters of surrealism left a strong mark on a whole generation of Chinese painters. Born in 1971, in the Southern province of Guizhou, Zhong Shan—like many artists of his generation—was inspired by surrealist masters, and a very eclectic sense of experimentation pushed him to explore different languages and address the juxtaposition of imagery through his art. “In my work, there’s …

Lisa Roet’s Bike-Powered Installation at Beijing’s Opposite House

Celebrating Earth Hour, a recently discovered at-risk gibbon lights up the hotel

On the evening of Saturday, 24 March, as Beijing went dark for Earth Hour, a bunch of people climbed on 30 stationary Mobikes parked outside the Opposite House and began cycling. Their pedal power inflated and lit up Australian artist Lisa Roet‘s giant silver Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon perched high on the hotel’s facade, and with this very impressive scene a month-long program of events, discussions …

Beijing Design Week 2017: Baitasi Remade

Exploring the historic and culturally relevant neighborhood's urban planning amidst tremendous growth

by Alessandro De Toni In a fast-changing city like Beijing, urban planners and designers puzzle over how to preserve the remains of historical identity while improving residents’ quality of life in old neighborhoods. Round upon round of demolitions and relocations have been reshaping the city and its social fabric for a good three decades. So far, commercialization and gentrification of hutongs have been the only …

Beijing Design Week: Jeff Dayu Shi’s “Yin Xian” Bamboo Collection

Reviving a Chinese tradition while adding a contemporary twist

by Alessandro de Toni Since 2009 Beijing Design Week has been a platform to spread design culture into a country whose aesthetics have been long trapped between faded echoes of past glories and mass-produced kitsch. While the discussion about a Chinese Renaissance, and how to revive traditions, takes place on TV, the path to shaping a contemporary Chinese style isn’t easy, as a fast-paced cash-hungry …

PIDO’s Mobile Community Garden

Designed by Beijing architecture firm People’s Industrial Design Office (PIDO), there’s a new community farm that goes further—quite literally. PIDO’s mobile garden is built atop two bicycles, so the entire community can take care of it and also benefit from it. The structure is a triangular steel frame, and the tubes have holes for plants to live inside, and “a set of solar panels are …