Thursday, June 05, 2008

Shanghai International CIW opening up scope for innovation

Source: China Economic

By Shen Zejin

The 2007 Shanghai International Creative Industry Week was held at 1933 Old Millfun, Shanghai from November 15 to November 21. Transformed from the largest slaughterhouse in the Far East in the 1930s into a brand new creative industry park in Shanghai, 1933 Old Millfun has become an "irresistible temptation" where renowned creative industry talents from all over the world get together.

Built in 1933, the set of buildings were designed by Balfours, a famous British architect, and constructed by the then well-known Yu Hong Ji Construction Company. Four buildings in the east, the west, the south and the north respectively, which form a square factory area, are connected to the main building at the central part taking the shape of a polygonal structure with 24 sides by staircases. Thus, there forms a unique layout, which is square when seen from outside but round when seen inside with various and interesting heights and circulating corridors, labyrinthic yet orderly, and an artistic space. Along the passages inside the slaughterhouse, people can easily reach the 4th floor without mounting the staircases.

Having conducted extensive studies, experts from relevant aspects in Shanghai decided to maintain the original structure and style of those buildings and make efforts to construct the circumjacent environment, and develop a new model of creative park construction, namely to boost the linkage development of forms including commerce, culture, tourism .etc in the circumjacent areas through doing the best in constructing the "1933 Old Millfun" and interact with the communities with an area of 11 square kilometer as guided by the government and boosted by the market by virtue of the agglomerative effect and the spinoff effect. Residents can spontaneously take part in creative transformation and construction, thus making it possible to gradually make build such an area into an original urban museum of old Shanghai folk culture getting integrated lifestyle experiencing communities, creative studios, art galleries, creative leisure and culture.

The reason for the 2007 Shanghai Creative Industry Week to have chosen "1933 Old Millfun" as its venue is to expose it to the world under spotlights. Unsurprisingly, this year's Creative Industry Week is much bigger than the previous two in scale, attracting not only famous creative individuals from more than 30 countries including the UK, the USA, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and Italy but also domestic representatives from more than 500 creative enterprises in over 20 cities; many people came specifically for "1933 Old Millfun".

The opening ceremony of the Shanghai International Creative Industry Week was held in the Old Millfun on the evening of November 15. Underneath the red carpet, there laid a newly paved road surface made up of pebbles and cube stones that can be rarely found in urban areas. The crowd applauded and cheered when the 100 creative masters walked across the red carpet, signed on the crystal signature bricks with a pattern of the 1933 Old Millfun that is carefully prepared by the organizing committee, and built up a "wall of creativity" with "bricks of creativity". Among the crowd, residents in the neighborhood could be found and certain changes would appear in their life from the night on.

On the following day, many visitors came to "1933 Old Millfun" in spirits. They roamed about such an exhibition hall that extends in all directions, taking a look at creative furniture from the Netherlands, the release of new wines from Australia, German architecture designs, British sustainable designs, book publication in the USA, and "Retrospect of Hong Kong's creative industry During the Past 10 years" organized by The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the People's Republic of China.

To the excitement of visitors, there would always be something new to offer even though they pay visit to the venue every day. Instead of a single form of exhibitions, 6 creative days were held during this year's Creative Industry Week with attempts to extensively and fully display the development status of creative industry in developed countries and those cities joining in the exhibition at various levels. For example, November 16 was the Holland Day, on which a series of activities concerning Dutch creative industry were carried out, including accomplishment exhibition, lectures and on-the-spot trainings, building design and planning in urban areas, and real estate project development, product promotion, and fashion shows. Visitors can not only learn about how Holland became ranked as the No. 8 most creative country in the latest global ranking by linking creativity with the market but also have the chance to communicate face to face with masters of creativity and famous branded enterprises from Holland.

On the "Yangtze River Delta Day", more than a score of creative parks and certain creative enterprises from the Yangtze River Delta cities, such as Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Changzhou, made match of projects with creative parks and creative enterprises in Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong delegation organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Center was composed of dozens of enterprises from a variety of fields in the creative industry like architecture design, comic and animation, film and television. Matchmaking and communications provide the creative industry and creative enterprises on the delta with experiences, open up more space for the development of the creative industry in Shanghai and Hong Kong, and conduct rewarding exploration into the healthy development mode of resource sharing and mutual benefits for the linkage development of the creative industry in such regions and cities.

The creative industry has been developing rapidly in Shanghai in the past few years. By the end of 2006, there had already been 75 creative industry parks like "1933 Old Millfun" while another 10 were under construction. However, the Shanghai Municipal Government had made it clear that in 2007, it would not authorize any new parks; instead, licenses would be withdrawn from those parks that are not clearly oriented or badly managed so as to keep the number of creative parks in Shanghai unchanged while their quality would get improved due to the introduction of a competition mechanism.

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