In the summer of 1997, when Li-An Lodge creator Keren Su was taking pictures in Longsheng with splendid green rice terraces spiraling down the whole valley, he found out that his old favorite photography spot (the land where Li-An Lodge sits on now) was for sale. The location was in a dead end, very isolated and very inconvenient to reach. Very excited, Keren immediately decided to buy this unique piece of land to build a small, special lodge for people like him, who like to travel to the remote areas to enjoy the fantastic landscape while staying at a nice and cozy lodge. Keren told himself that he wanted to make the lodge very special by building it in the ancient traditional Chinese way, as an entirely wooden structure without a single nail.
Keren also wanted to decorate every room differently, each with its own distinct theme. It was an idea many artists would like to have. An avid collector of Chinese art objects, Keren had already accumulated quite an impressive collection. Why not use these pieces to decorate the lodge and share with his guests, instead of locking them in a dark room where no one could see? The theme of Keren's collection mostly focuses on vanishing Chinese folk art, different from what people usually see at museums. At the Lodge, people can have another way to enjoy looking at them. As a world traveler, Keren stayed in so many different places, yet he always struggled to remember much about any of them. Keren hopes travelers like him could stay at this very special place with unique decoration inside and unique landscape outside and get to know Chinese cultures. So, it made perfect sense to design each room differently and give each room a unique name.
During the 10years of China's disastrous Cultural Revolution, Keren, like so many other youths of his generation, was sent to a labor camp for 10 years without a normal school education, and was denied his childhood dream—he had always wanted to become an architect. During his extensive lifelong travels as an adult throughout China, he noticed the traditional culture vanishing quickly, and people having lost interest in building traditional Chinese houses. However, here, deep in the mountains, traditional timber houses still remain, and Keren imagined that his lodge could recapture this craftsmanship. As an artist and cultural explorer, designing and building the lodge was definitely a big challenge, and he had never done it before. Never! So what? He couldn't pass up the opportunity. Of course, he never imagined it would take him such a long time to accomplish it, not to mention the kind of difficulty he encountered. It took eight years. We are sure you will agree that in gathering special treasures and expressing his love and passion for Chinese folk culture, Keren has managed to create something magical that travelers can share.