renovated cotton factory in china features nearly 5,000 spindles to honor its history

renovated cotton factory in china features nearly 5,000 spindles to honor its history


jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall


the former glory of chinese city jinan’s textile industry dates back as early as 1915. in 1919, the lufeng yarn mill was built and later became the first national cotton factory of jinan. the second, third and fourth factories then joined in to form what was known as the ‘four golden flowers’. the tides of time, however, have washed away their fame and forced all four factories to stop production. despite it all, the fourth national cotton factory remained in the spotlight as a heritage building and testament to the rise and fall of the cotton textile industry in northern china. overall, the old workshops in the factory are well preserved and still retain their original architectural layout and style, reflecting the textile era. 


today, the china-based YI + MU design office is comprehensively reviving the legacy site of the 4th national cotton factory by converting it into a new living community. to better preserve the rich history and memories associated with the site, several original buildings are set for renovation and reuse. ‘the goal is to retain the traces of history and inject fresh vitality into the new project,’ shared the design office. as a result, the jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall comes to life. 

jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall
all images by xiangyu sun, YI+ MU design office



time, light and traces: revisiting history in a dual, modern space


looking at the long-abandoned, high-rise structure of the main textile workshop, the YI + MU design office team was deeply impressed by the strong sense of a once turbulent era and bright daylight cascading from the vast expanse of a serrated skylight. even more, the mottled walls and worn, unkempt rooms mainly communicated the feeling of time traveling. the designers, therefore, set the theme of ‘time, light and traces’. they explain: ‘as the minutes tick by, the light and shadows cast on objects slowly alter and shift, leaving only very vague traces of moments past with seemingly nothing having happened. […] with the change of ages and refreshing of our minds, we start to realize and experience in our hearts the impacts and alterations brought by time.’


with that in mind, the team realized a dual space, serving as a community and sales center that revisits history in a modern context. the theme naturally revolves around textile culture, intended to pass on and revive the city’s profound history. by doing so, the project hopes to enhance participation and engagement. it also expects to build a place where people are willing to partake in a hands-on, creative experience and admire the allure of fabric-making techniques. 

jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall


apart from functioning as a sales center, the venue also hosts small exhibitions, opportunities in art education, cultural exchange salons, hands-on learning experiences, DIY workshops, family and community events, a textile library, and a marketplace for cultural and creative products. combined, these functions allow visitors to understand traditional and modern chinese textile spinning, weaving, and dyeing techniques via various activities. finally, above the center of the exhibition hall, 1,500 suspended weaving shuttles are intended to form a unique art installation and serve as the most eye-catching visual element there.


the jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall was commissioned by real estate company jiinke group, and was officially completed in june 2021. 

time light and traces 3


a matrix of coarse textures, deep tones, and 5,000 spindles 


to articulate that sense of time and memory, the designers set the overall tone using warm and dark colors. they also injected bold and coarse surface textures alongside simple lines to fashion a stimulating setting with a heavy-metal touch. additionally, a red brick ‘skin’ emphasizes the industrial aesthetic of the former workshops. at the same time, wood-based materials soften the hard and cold mechanical backdrop — lending a laid-back intimacy to the environment. structurally, the architecture is reinforced from the inside out thanks to fortified columns and beams that form the skeleton.


reinforcing the cultural layer is an estimated 5,000 spindles that form a spellbinding matrix with a strong sense of spatial sequencing. ‘the dense spindles form an isolated yet integral part of the composite scene, presenting a strong perceptual presence of modern art installations. they combine into a continuous and infinitely immersive experience that recalls the hustle and bustle of the numerous looms and brings visitors back in time to that era of sheer passion,’ elaborates the team. 

time light and traces 4



time light and traces 11

time light and traces 9






renovated cotton factory in china features nearly 5,000 spindles to honor its history
renovated cotton factory in china features nearly 5,000 spindles to honor its history
renovated cotton factory in china features nearly 5,000 spindles to honor its history

project info:


name: jinan bocuiminghu textile culture and arts exhibition hall

location: jinan, shandong, china 

completion date: june 2021

client: jinke group

area: 1,300 sqm

interior design: YI+MU design office 

interior soft decoration design: YI+MU design office 

chief designer: yi chen, muchen zhang 

design team: wujie li, zhiqiang yang, yi xiao, yanrong yang, xu zhang,huize qiu 

soft decoration deepening and implementation: panshine design 

textile consultant and execution of art gallery furnishings: cao zhen studio

photography: xiangyu sun, YI+ MU design office 

main materials: wood veneer, oak wood floor, georgia grey stone matte surface, distressed red brick, matte fluorocarbon sprayed metal plate, metal mesh, rust plate, spindle, cement rock slab



designboom has received this project from our DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom


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