Creative designs offer a glimpse into future

The College of Design and Innovation of Tongji University has created a line of innovative stores, workshops, labs and eateries within the Anshan Community in Yangpu District.
Yang Jian / SHINE

Two visitors read the introduction of a robot studio, one of the innovative stores in a downtown residential community in Yangpu District.

A local design college has given a futuristic look to a street in an old downtown residential community.

The College of Design and Innovation of Tongji University has lined up innovative stores, workshops, labs and eateries — most of them run by startup companies and students of the college — on the street in the Anshan Community in Yangpu District.

The street, which is named N-ICE2035 and translates into Neighborhood of Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship toward 2035, gives the residents a chance to explore and experience unique restaurants, offices, entertainment venues that were built with new materials, including robots and artificial intelligence.

The project, a joint work of the college and the Siping Road Subdistrict, aims to find a new way to renovate and protect old residential neighborhoods. If it proves popular among both residents and entrepreneurs, the idea will be expanded to other local communities.

Yang Jian / SHINE

Cheng Zao, the founder of the Aroma Art lab, introduces his plant-based products to customers. 

The Aroma Art lab, for instance, combines various scents of plants and flowers that reportedly helps in treating bad cold and relieve anxieties. A cafe called Timemore uses traditional Chinese ceramics for coffee pots and cups. A smartphone application can calculate the best flavor that users may like and guides them to make the coffee manually.

Elsewhere, a lab is exhibiting over 10,000 kinds of materials for design and decoration. A robot also works with bowls, clocks, lamps and other daily commodities. The robot actually "teaches" children how to use tableware.

"The college aims to change people's lifestyle and improve the living environment of communities with knowledge and creative design," Lou Yongqi, the dean of the college, said. The project will also help to convert students' works, as well as researches on the Internet, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence into products. More innovative stores will open along the street, he said.

Yang Jian / SHINE

The coffee pots and cups at Timemore are made of Chinese ceramics. 

The bike-sharing company Mobike is also involved with the project. The design college and Mobike will analyze data and offer innovative services to serve the residents better.

The project is part of the city government's micro-revamping effort to improve the living standards of old communities while trying to retain the traditional layout and lifestyle of the neighborhoods.

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