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Culture, Personal, Travel

Tianzifang – 田子坊

In the French Concession area, and right across the street from our new apartment, lies a hip little place called Tianzifang–Shanghai’s “Art Street”. It’s also known as Taikanglu, for the road that runs past it, or as The New York Times refers to it, Lane 248. Deep into the narrow alleyways, unseen from the streets, Tianzifang is a labyrinth of neatness, unlike anything else in China.

The neighborhood originated in the ’30s with distinct fusion East-West-style architecture known as Shikumen. Since its start, it has remained unchanged and local, but in 2006 the Tianzifang area was set on being demolished, like many older out-of-date areas in China, to give way to modern shopping complexes and high-rise apartments. In fact, just a block south there’s an ultra-modern shopping area with everything the well-to-dos dream about. However, there was plenty of opposition to the demolition from famous artists, business owners and residents alike, and they managed to persuade the government not to demolish the area, but to preserve it.

Architecturally, Tianzifang remains unchanged, withstanding both the test of time and modernity, but its atmosphere has blossomed from word of mouth amongst the local and international art enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Currently it has over 200 coffee shops, tea houses, craft stores, restaurants and trendy art and fashion studios, all found within the maze of narrow alleyways. One of our favorite photographers operates right out of there, too!

If you notice in the last picture, in an attempt to look the part and fit in, I busted out the faux thick framed glasses. Glasses I haven’t worn since sweater vest night in Hawaii. My guess, between Ashley and I, we’ll have a few dozen pair come movin’ time.

For more pictures or information, here is Tianzifang’s official website:

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5 thoughts on “Tianzifang – 田子坊

  1. Photographers taking pictures of photographers.

    Posted by Alex Budnick | December 2, 2011, 6:56 PM
  2. Have fun in Cambodia!!!

    Posted by amyandmichaelweiher | December 5, 2011, 7:29 PM
  3. Sorry we missed your Skype call the other night! Love this posting and pics! Safe and enjoyable travels in Cambodia and beyond…love and miss you! Tara & Marcus & 3 kiddos who also love you!

    Posted by Tara | December 6, 2011, 9:56 PM
  4. i like the reflection picture. i see what you did there, yeah. yeah. nudge. you were sitting there admiring the chef working around his ikea spice racks and dish ware holder then said “OH! our reflection!” great pics!

    if you can’t tell, i am indeed stalking your blog. only living up to what i promised. that, and i have to out-comment alex.

    Posted by ashnjames | December 7, 2011, 9:18 AM
  5. Looks like a sweet little place! :)

    Posted by Tracy & Luke Rosas | December 7, 2011, 5:04 PM

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