Beijing 798 Art Zone is otherwise known as Dashanzi Art District (DAD). This place is located in Dhaoyang District of Beijing where a group of artisan engaged in creating beautiful architectural and artistic creations in a 50 year of decommissioned military factory. Today this is the show case center of modern China art forms. The workshop is spread over an area of 0.6 square kilometers and became one of the world famous tourist destinations in China. 798 Art District is actually factory No. 798 located within a complex which was previously known as Joint Factory 718.
Socilist Unification Plan:
The factory complex was the product of Soviet Union and Peoples Republic of China co-operation, which was nick named as “Socilist Unification Plan”. It was an abitious project between the two countries. By the time when this project was about to take palce, the Soviet authorities were reluctant to participate further military – strategic joint projects in China as Soviets had actively participated in 156 joint projects and advised China to seek participation of East Germany, which was under Communist Rule. The design of the building was provided by the East German architects and the project was named as Joint Factory 718. Unlike any other factory complexes the unique design which allows more natural light in to the building and residential complex make the difference.
Political changes killed the factory:
The East German and Chinese collaboration materilised in 1957 and the complex started to produce different variety of strategic products. The factory had gained its reputation within a short period and employees were benefited with all time best pay and social benefits. During Deng Xiaoping’s reforms the factory started losing its competitive edge. The financial support from the government side was gradually declined and most of renovation and technical enhancement plans were stopped by the government. The factory was asked to stay afloat by its own resources was a tough decision. At the same time, Germans withdrew from the scene due to the changed political situation in Germany. The demise of the factory was inevitable.
The birth of Art Complex:
Gradually more than 60% employees are put under lay off and the factory was re-constituted to work like a real-estate in the name of “Seven Star Huadian Science and Technology Group”. The main aim of the company was to find out alternative means and usage of the factory premises. By the time factory was fully abandoned, it was a blessing in disguise for the contemporary artist community of China who were looking for a home and workshop. With the help of Government of China, the Avant-grade art was given priority. In 1995, the Central Academy of Fine Arts set up its workshop in one of the closed Factory No. 706. Though it was a temporary move, in the later years the academy consolidated its position and established permanent presence in the factory. Soon different artisan group and faculties started moving to the factory complex.
Sudden influx of various art studios and related activities:
The first foreigner, Texan Robert Bernell moved his Time zone 8 Art Books and publishing office to the factory complex in 2001. After this there was a gradual influx of various artists settled in this factory complex and made it as their abode. Today you can see, art galleries, art exhibition halls, design studios scattered all around the complex along with beautiful restaurants and exotic bars! This has become a unique location to exhibit the cultural diversity from different part of the world. Every year 798 Art Festival being conducted in the complex from April to May. Know more about China in a different perspective.