Dafen is a ‘village in a city’: a phenomenon of rapid urbanisation where the existing village community is protected by law. As it is bounded by new development it can only expand vertically and in density, leading to a chaotic urban environment. The creation of an art museum in a place that has become a centre of replica oil painting might seem incongruous. The solution is a hybrid mix of programmes under one roof, including galleries, workshops and museums, planned to foster interaction. As well as catalysing development it is encouraging the emergence of more original art, providing a sustainable model for the future of Dafen.