A surprise find in Beijing is this former communist building, which now showcases the artists and designers of the “New China.”
Browse art, film and books in 798 Space, a former factory compound turned cultural center. It has gained global fame as the focal point for the modern Chinese art scene.
798 Space covers about 10,764 square feet (1,000 square meters) and comprises various exhibition and event spaces, a bookstore and a bar. Housed in a former electronics factory, this curved warehouse is just one of many functional spaces in the area that have been transformed into galleries and studios. This arts district now represents the “New China.”
Architecture buffs will have no trouble identifying the building’s communist-style design. Designed in the 1950s by engineers from East Germany, 798 Space still bears the characteristics that are so typical of utilitarian aesthetics, including open floor plans and right angles. Large Maoist slogans stamped in red remain on the concrete factory walls.
Enjoy some of the constantly changing exhibits, which can include anything from contemporary paintings to large-scale installations with multimedia shows and even exciting dinosaur displays.
After you have taken in the art and architecture, relax with a drink among the industrial machinery in the Old Factory Bar. There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood too. Have something to eat, browse for gifts in souvenir shops and look at the district’s outdoor art, such as sculptures and graffiti.
798 Space is located in the Dashanzi Art District, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast from Tiananmen Square in central Beijing. You can get to 798 Space by bus or taxi. The area around 798 Space is much quieter than Beijing’s city center, so relax and take your time to see it. Be sure to plan your visit on any other day than Monday, when many of the galleries are closed.