Every time my favourite fashion guru Mario calls me, I know it’s about something special. Last time it was to invite me to Principle M‘s soft launch party (I wrote a post about it and you can find it here), this time it’s about a newly opened Archery club in Sanlitun SOHO, Beijing. He told me the owner was a very interesting guy and wanted to meet me. Then I simply wore a red coat and my best smile and joined the guys for a post-work drink-&-chat session.
As it turns out, the Archery club is at the B1 level of this commercial & residential compound across the street from the always-popular TaiKoo Li Village. Exact location: B1-308.
The open space is very well organized, featuring the main shooting range, a bar and a cozy lounge area with chairs and coffee tables. It’s open for club members and guests from 11am to midnight.
Even the bar itself was painted by this energetic guy – when he told me, his eyes were sparkling with excitement, and I could tell how proud he was.
As a proper club, you are more than welcome to become a member: by doing so (and with a small fee of 500 CNY/year) you get free access to the facilities and a 50% discount on the archery charge.
Also, they offer training courses from elementary to advanced both in English and Chinese. My friend Mario is in fact a teacher there (!) and he told me that he currently has 5 pupils, whom he meets after work for coaching and a beer (sometimes two!).
I sat down with Liu for a chat, as I was curious about understanding what brought a guy from the icy Harbin to attend an academy of fine arts in Beijing, to travel to Italy to perfect his painting skills and then to come back to China and open an archery club.
You see, he told me, it’s all part of the same dream about doing something beautiful. He has had this in his mind forever: own a place where people could hang out, get a drink, share his passion for art and archery. And I think this is winning about Jian Club – it’s not (only) a sport club: you are encouraged to use your bow (or to rent one over there), but it’s perfectly fine if you just go there to listen to some (surprisingly) good music, read a book, chat with a friend.
He is an archer himself, he learnt how to use bow and arrows when he was a young kid, and since then he has improved his technique and has kept on practicing archery as often as possible. At the moment he is very busy, with the club to run, a 7-people team to manage and art exhibitions of his works to coordinate, but “there is nothing better than archery to relieve the stress” he told me.
It was a really nice evening and I found our conversation very stimulating: once again I realised that pursuing a dream might be complicated and tiring, but it is the best thing we can do in our own life.
Right before leaving, I asked Liu about the logo he chose for the club; “I designed it, it’s an artistic and upside-down version of the character jiǎn 戬”. And then he started giving me a complicated and sophisticated (I guess?!) explanation of how he came up with this idea and how the different elements of this characters are perfectly balanced and beautiful. Ah! I love artists. They can see the beauty in every single thing and they think it’s their mission to make the world more interesting. Thank you Liu for your efforts!
Ho appena incontrato Liu, giovane artista cinese, e mi ha dato un’energia incredibile: questo ragazzo, con l’aiuto di 7 amici appassionati come lui, ha appena aperto un club di tiro con l’arco. Ma in realtà il suo progetto e’ molto piu’ ambizioso: vuole farne una galleria d’arte, un bar, un punto di ritrovo. Dove chiunque e’ il benvenuto per una birra e della buona musica. Complimenti, Liu, e in bocca al lupo!
For the chat with Liu I was delighted to wear:
Red coat: Max Mara Studio
Brooch: Angela Caputi
Bag: Alexander Wang
Black cashmere shawl: Woo
Silk shirt: Max Mara
Velvet shorts: Zara
Boots: Stuart Weitzman 5050
Earrings: Georg Jensen
Gold bracelet and ring: vintage
The kit of the perfect reporter is:
sparkly pink pen: Cross
violet organizer: Filofax
Pictures were taken with my brand new white Sony NEX-5T.[map id=”56″]