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Green plants and black pens Shanghai

Although its production has slowed down in the last few years, the Shanghai Hero Pen Company remains an example of Chinese industrial longevity.

Having visited the artist Wu Ding in his workshop in an abandoned wing of the Hero Pen Company, we head out with him to find some of the workshops that are still in operation. Founded in Shanghai in 1931, the Hero Pen Company is a reference in Chinese industrial design. While their fountain pens are very liberally inspired by renowned brands such as Parker and Mont-Blanc, Hero Pen also produces original models which have ensured the company’s success until the 1990’s. Today, production has slowed down and many of the alleys between the buildings have been taken over by tropical vegetation. The few workshops still in operation are impressive machine museums: 5 employees still maintain these machines which, although some of them date back to the 1930’s, are still in perfect working condition. As with many of the World’s large cities, Shanghai is reclaiming rundown industrial areas and transforming them into cultural venues. The people who manage this plant seem to have taken gentrification in stride and, in conjunction with pioneering artists, have embarked on the gradual rehabilitation of their property.