The Sino-Italian Cultural Center Set To Expand Chengdu’s Footprint

Designed by aoe Architects, the center will serve as a local government base for hosting cross-cultural exhibitions and events. 

No figure is more symbolic of Sino-Italian cultural exchange than Marco Polo. Today in China, his decade-long sojourn in the country is taught in schools; his name, synonymous with wanderlust and refinery, used to sell everything from luxury hotel rooms and language classes to auto parts and sausages.

Little wonder, then, the 13th century Venetian is cited as an inspiration for a recently opened Sino-Italian cultural center on the outskirts of Chengdu. The respect was mutual; as detailed in his travelogues, Marco Polo admired the Sichuanese capital, its thriving silk trade, and the architecture of its covered bridges. Seven centuries on, one wonders what the explorer would have made of a complex that fuses traditional Chinese pavilions with Roman architecture.

Culturally speaking, Chengdu has long been associated with opera, teahouses, and fiery cuisine. In 2017, local authorities sought to expand the city’s footprint and give it industrial heft by partnering with five international countries to build so-called “innovation parks” in Tianfu, a rapidly developing district. Four years on from the agreement signed in the presence of the Chinese and Italian presidents, the Sino-Italian Cultural Exchange City Reception Center is the first of such the projects to open. Continue to read the full article here