i-factory. An industrial graveyard or a photographer’s haven?
I-FACTORY is a Cultural Creative Park that aims to become the birthplace of a new urban culture. It has provided a home for cultural activities including fashion shows and art exhibitions. I has even hosted events such as design week and Tech Crunch, and is a free and open space for cultural and creative practitioners to exchange ideas – from inspiration, to production, testing and display. I-FACTORY is housed in a reclaimed industrial heritage site, retaining massive concrete silos, chimneys and a machine hall. This unique historic building has become a public space open to anyone.
Creative spaces housed in old industrial areas have becomes popular in China. From the creative vibe of OCT LOFT, to the sprawling art community of 798 Art Zone in Beijing, these kind of areas are not uncommon, but how does i-factory compare? Well for starters this is far more open and empty, in fact it felt like I was walking around a ghost town. There are no galleries, or shops, little cafes or restaurants. In fact there’s nobody and nothing. I only saw 1 person in the entire time I was there, and he was the guard! I’ve been here during design week and it was thriving and full of energy, but on a standard non even day, its far, far different.
This however, is not a bad thing. In fact I liked it. It gave it an authentic, gritty feel. It actually felt like an old industrial factory, and what’s more it makes it very, very photogenic. When you enter the space, you are completely free to walk around and explore at your leisure. There are huge empty buildings, dark and dirty, which are interesting to look around but don’t really provide much to see or do. It’s the exterior which provides the fantastic views and great photo opportunities. Now I myself am not a profession nor even an amateur photographer, but I gave it my best shot to get the pictures Instagram worthy. Huge chimneys, rusted buildings, steel staircases, and cold hard cement give this a heavy urban feel, a lot different to the modern skyscrapers you’ll see on a day-to-day basis in SZ.
The Star of the show is the artistic graffiti that is dotted around. Make sure to look everywhere, because some of it is hidden in amusing places. From an angry hippo, to a girl with a gun, and even Mobike art, there will be something that makes you smile. Great for a quick snap, or even a selfie or 2 the wall art gives this a kick of creativity and raises it above a decaying relic into something more, something out of the ordinary, something intrinsically Shenzhen. So whether it is worth making the trek out here to this is up to you, I think it’s worth it, after all seeing new and interesting places is why we live in SZ right?
Free entry. Will need to sign in on the visitors log at the front gate giving passport number and phone no.
How to get there?
Shekou Ferry metro station. And get a didi to 8 Haiwan Lu, Shekou, Nanshan District.
No.8, Haiwan Road, Shekou Industrial Zone, Shenzhen I-Factory
Get bus numbers 70/79/80/204/226/M106 to Merchant Port Service bus stop, walk forward follow the i-factory signs for around 900m