In China’s booming Pearl River Delta, the former Honghua Printing and Dyeing Factory—long vacant and overgrown—has recently been rebranded as iD TOWN art district. Guangzhou-based O-office Architects is in the process of converting its 18 buildings on a 20-acre site into artists’ studios, hotels, a conference center, and more. On January 11, the exhibition Organism opened iD TOWN to the public and inaugurated its gallery space in the first renovated building in what is expected to be a 15–20 year project.
The factory, located one hour east of downtown Shenzhen, opened in 1989, closed to bankruptcy in 2001, and lay abandoned for a decade while the subtropical sun and rain crept in. O-office is taking an atypical approach to its reuse. In a country where renovations tend to whitewash buildings’ history, the firm is leaving the factory largely intact.