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Warehouses house creative centers

The newest creative centers are Anken Green Loft on Huai'an Street near Suzhou Creek and Xin Dan Wei on Dingxi Road. Chen Ye reports.

Two more creative spaces in old warehouses have been added to Shanghai's creative industry scene, and they are both environmentally friendly.

The newcomers are Anken Green Loft on Huai'an Street near Suzhou Creek and 727 Creation Loft (Xin Dan Wei) on Dingxi Road.

From the outside Anken Green Loft looks like an old factory; from the inside, it's all about environmental protection.

The main tenants are creative companies. On the second floor there is an open-plan office shared by several small companies to save on rent and utilities by sharing utilities, common facilities and common areas.

Designer Zhu Cuihua, who has lived in China for 10 years, grew up in Australia. She is familiar with water-shortage problems and the need for conservation. She has been thinking and designing green for a long time.

"In Australia many people take fast showers within five minutes and don't linger because that's waste," said Zhu.

She decided to use the old warehouse to create an enviromentally friendly space with areas for living, working, socializing and entertaining.

On each floor there are electricity monitors and when more than a certain level is reached, an alarm goes off, reminding people to turn off some power.

Many of the tenants are companies with overseas experience and are conscious of the need for environmental protection.

Anken was first designed to use solar energy. But it turned out to be difficult to find equipment. Such equpiment produced in China are mainly for export. That means the cost to use solar energy is high and could not be recovered during the 10-year-lease on the warehouse.

Zhu had to drop the idea. But she never stopped seeking environmental protection in other ways.

For example, a rainwater recycling system was recently installed. It can collect 6,000 liters of rainwater after a shower; 70 percent is used to irrigate the roof garden and the rest is used to flush toilets.

Price has also been a problem in finding LED lighting and double-glazed windows for insulation.

Zhu says environmental protection is ultimately a matter of individual choice and behavior and it is more important than technology.

Xin Dan Wei

Another creative space, Xin Dan Wei or 727 Creative Loft, was created by A Jiao, Chen Xu and Liu Yan. They raised nearly 100,000 yuan (US$14,700) with help from John Hawkins, an international UK expert on creative industries.

Xin Dan Wei is not only office space, but also space for short-term meetings and events - it runs events and projects. Its main revenue comes from projects or events they arrange.

"Although I am a boss who only has one employee, I can have an executive desk in Xin Dan Wei," said Dai Ling, boss of Mandarin Star, which provides Chinese language training courses for overseas companies including IBM and L'Oreal.

She pays only 2,000 yuan a month to rent a desk in Xin Dan Wei, a place where she can both find customers and teaching space.

The creators of Xin Dan Wei said the creative center is based on an ideal.

It is not as simple as a space serving private events or individual projects. It is a brand-new creative center that attracts the most talented people.


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