ultramarinus – beyond the sea

Posts tagged “Art Deco

THE LOST LITTLE SHANGHAI, North Point (北角), Hong Kong

North Point (北角) has long been referred to as Little Fujian (小福建) and Little Shanghai (小上海) since waves of immigrants from Mainland China flocked to settle in the area during the turbulent first half of 20th century. Among the refugees came a group of cultural elites and merchants from Shanghai. Many of them chose to reside in the quiet streets at the foothill of Braemar Hill (寶馬山) in North Point, just a block or two up from bustling King’s Road. This neighborhood was once dominated by multi-storey tenement apartments, with fine terrazzo portal, Art Deco motifs and Streamline Moderne building profiles that echoed the architectural trend of old Shanghai. Today, despite most tenement buildings have been replaced by highrise apartments, these sloped streets remain tranquil most of the day, except when students get out of Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School (蘇浙小學), Hong Kong’s first school that offer all lessons in Mandarin, at the end of school day.

In 2019, Yonfan (楊凡)’s animation No.7 Cherry Lane (繼園臺七號) won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice International Film Festival. In the film, the stepped lane where the protagonists walk down to North Point, and the tenement apartment on Cherry Lane where Shanghaiese and Taiwanese immigrants reside, is actually based on the sloped street of Kai Yuen Street (繼園街). During the pandemic, the peaceful Kai Yuen Street has gone through drastic transformation as many old tenement buildings were locked down for new luxury apartments. The neighbourhood where renowned Shanghaiese writer Eileen Chang (張愛玲) often came to visit the family of Stephen Soong (宋淇), a famous writer and literary critic who came to Hong Kong in escape of the Chinese Civil War, is all but gone. A few blocks west of Kai Yuen Street lies another sloped street Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街). Ming Yuen Western Street is probably one of the last spots in “Little Shanghai” where there are a few original tenement blocks still standing today. Ming Yuen Western Street and the adjacent Metropole Department Store form part of the site of the former Ming Yuen (名園) amusement park. Opened in 1918, the design of Ming Yuen was based on another amusement park in Shanghai. After the amusement went out of business, the area was soon turned into a residential neighbourhood. At nearby Ching Wah Street (清華街), a five-storey apartment with curved balconies and Art Deco motifs stands as a lone reminder of what Little Shanghai might have look like in the bygone era.

Opened in 1953 to serve the local Chinese immigrant community, Kiangsu & Chekiang Primary School (蘇浙小學) is the first school in Hong Kong to give most lessons in all Mandarin. [2022]
Built in 1949, No.2 Ching Wah Street (清華街) stands as one of the last survivor from the era of Little Shanghai. [2022]
Mak Kee offers many traditional Shanghai snacks, such as streamed dumplings and hot and sour soup. [2022]

Kai Yuen Street (繼園街)

One of the most recognizable set in Youfan’s No.7 Cherry Lane is the stepped pedestrian pavement of Kai Yuen Street (繼園街). [2020]
The retaining wall and stepped sidewalk of Kai Yuen Street is quite a photogenic backdrop. [2020]
Just 150m from bustling King’s Road, the peaceful community up Kai Yuen Street seems like another world. [2020]
DSC_6686
From 1957 to 2021, the Streamline Moderne tenement apartment designed by architect “Yam Koon Seng” (任冠生) was a fantastic landmark of the Kai Yuen Street neighborhood. [2017]
Before demolition, the ground floor of the tenement apartments were occupied by car mechanic, hardware and construction shops. [2020]
In 2020, I made a brief visit to Kai Yuen Street. Back then, I didn’t realize that the entire block would soon be demolished. [2020]
Architect “Yam Koon Seng” (任冠生) loves the Kai Yuen Street project and even moved into the apartment with his family. [2020]
Today, the entire block of Kai Yuen Street has become a large construction site. [2020]

Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街)

A few blocks west of Kai Yuen Street lies Ming Yuen Western Street (明園西街), another sloped street where several tenement buildings dated back to the Little Shanghai era are still standing today. [2022]
With a deadend at its top, Ming Yuen Western Street is a fairly quiet street away from all the actions of North Point. [2022]
Architectural details from a bygone era can still be found at Ming Yuen Western Street. [2022]
Many loves the quiet ambience of the sloped street. [2022]
Of course for most of the tenement buildings in Hong Kong, the absence of elevators or lifts is one of the biggest drawback for these old apartments. [2022]
Date back to 1954, the tenement apartment at 34 Ming Yuen Western Street is the most distinctive architecture on the street. [2022]
Like other tenement apartments from the same era, beautiful Italian terrazzo was used at the entrance portal. [2022]
Situated high on a steep street and without an elevator, living in these old tenement apartments may not fit everyone’s preference. [2022]
The glass blocks and operable windows at the stairwell facade form a remarkable feature that emphasizes on architectural verticality. [2022]

FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China

From 1849 to 1943, the area that encompassed today’s Xuhui District and the western part of Huangpu District was under the French control known as the French Concession.  Large number of western buildings survive till today, and has since then become some of the most prestige residential neighborhoods and entertainment areas of contemporary Shanghai.

In the morning, we were to meet our friend near Xintiandi  (新天地).  We arrived a little earlier than planned, thus had a little bit of time to wander around Xintiandi and its nearby alleyways of shikumen (石庫門) residences.  Known as lilongs (里弄), these alleyway communities once dominated the majority of residential neighborhoods in the city.  Shikumen was a common type of terrace houses cladded in brick veneer over combustible timber structures.  In 2001, one of the most famous restored shikumen neighborhood in the Former French Concession opened its doors as a new lifestyle and entertainment destination in Shanghai.  Known as Xintiandi (New World), this adaptive reuse project offered new life to old neighborhoods not only in Shanghai, but also other Chinese cities.

After a short walk in Xintiandi, we met up with our friend.  Our friend took us for a quick detour to the newly built SOHO Fuxing Lu mixuse development to check out a cool lift lobby of a commercial building.  Then our friend led us to one of his favorite noodle soup.  We ordered two bowls of noodles: yellow fish and deep fried pork chops.  After the tasty breakfast, we continued our tour of the Former French Concession.

Next we arrived at Normandie Apartment or Wukang Mansion (武康大樓) at Wukang Road, a French Renaissance style building at a street corner similar to New York’s Flatiron Building.  Home to many Shanghainese celebrities, Normandie Apartment was designed by Hungarian-Slovak architect László Hudec, a renowned architect who lived in Shanghai from 1918 to 1945.  Inspired by the WWI battleship Normandie, the architectural form of the building resembles a ship.  The project was completed in 1924.

We continued our walk along Wukang Road to Ferguson Lane, an upscale leisure destination with shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries along alleyways and courtyards flanked by Art Deco buildings.  A long queue was lining up for what looked like a decent restaurant for bunch.  Equally popular was the French bakery where an irresistible smell of bread spread allover the leafy courtyards of Ferguson Lane.

DSC_1427Our morning stroll in the lilong alleyways near Xintiandi.

DSC_1446It was early morning when we arrived at Xintiandi.  Most stores had yet to open their doors.  We loved the tranquility of the street. The leafless trees along both sides of the road blended harmoniously with the building facades.

DSC_1449Beautiful shikumen building facades along the street at Xintiandi.

DSC_1453Gelato shop at Shanghai Xintiandi.

DSC_1468The peaceful and delightful mood blanketed the entire Xintiandi in the morning, before the arrival of tour groups.

DSC_1472Some buildings in Xintiandi serve as backdrop for tourist photos.

DSC_1474Outdoor seating at Xintiandi.

DSC_1480Our friend took us to a newly built office building at SOHO Fuxing Lu near Xintiandi to check out a cyber looking lift lobby design which has been published in design magazines.

DSC_1484An entrance court of SOHO Fuxing Lu designed by GMP Architekten.

DSC_1489Our tasty breakfast: yellow fish noodles and fried pork chop noodles.

DSC_1490Humble entrance of “Great Times” Noodle House.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 8-storey Normandie Apartment reminded us of New York’s Flatiron Building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe curve corner of Normandie Apartment.

DSC_1503Normandie Apartment or Wukang Mansion (in Chinese) once represented a prestige address in the city.

DSC_1501The veranda at Wukang Mansion is one of the oldest in Shanghai.

DSC_1521Signage at the main entance of Ferguson Lane revealed its Art Deco past.

DSC_1524Ferguson Lane, a warm and relaxing destination for anyone who seeks for a tranquil place to chill out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting bronze statue riding a bike captured many’s attention.

DSC_1541Western buildings could be found everywhere on Wukang Road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother interesting building at the intersection of Wukang Road and Hunan Road.

DSC_1555Once again we felt like as if we were traveling in Europe.

 

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Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China

Primarily under the control of the British, the Bund area was known as Shanghai International Settlement in 1862 when the British and American settlements and a number of other nations united to form an international concession zone, while the French maintained its own concession to the south.  Years before establishment of the International Settlement, foreign forces were already actively developed each of its own concession in the city, and engaged in trading and other affairs of their own interest since the end of First Opium War in 1842.  For a hundred years until the Second World War, these concessions remained under foreign control.  Today, large amount of the former colonial architecture remain.  Not only do they become a symbol of Shanghai’s history, these western structures also offered opportunities for new businesses to come in and convert these stone and brick mansions into cool restaurants and high end shops, taping in cash from the new local wealthy class.

Rockbund is a revitalization project of a series of colonial buildings in the Bund area, including the former British Embassy.  Foreign architects were invited to do the restoration and redesign.  British architect David Chipperfield was assigned with 11 buildings in the Rockbund area.  Most of the buildings were off limits to visits.   unless we went in as customers.  We could at least visit Rockbund Art Museum.  A century ago, much of the International Concession was off limit to the local Chinese; today, ironically many of the restored buildings of Rockbund remained off limits to the general public.  Security guards with rudeness and distasteful attitude prevent anyone to even come close to the buildings and discourage people to take photos.  We had a brief stroll in the Rockbund area before arriving at Rockbund Art Museum.  In the midst of exclusive and hostile atmosphere of the Rockbund, the Art Museum in contrast expressed a sense of welcome and remained truly a place for culture.

Also restored by David Chipperfield, Rockbund Art Museum was the former Royal Asiatic Society Building, an well restored Art Deco building.  The museum was hosting a solo show of installation art called “Ifs, Ands, or Buts” by Heman Chong, a well-known Singaporean artist.  It was delightful to walk from floor to floor to see Chong’s works.  At the top level, we were greeted with a free coffee when we showed our admission tickets.  We walked out to the roof terrace with good views of the area and beyond.  The weather was fine.  We were fortunate enough to see the blue sky and enjoy the fine weather and acceptable air quality, which are getting really difficult to come by these days in a Chinese city.

DSC_0737The alleyways of Rockbund were almost deserted except a few tourists and the security guards.

DSC_0744Many historical buildings were well restored to reveal their former glory.

DSC_0752Touches of local ornament with predominately Western style architecture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASecurity guard.

DSC_0759Opened in 1930, the Zheng Guang Guang Xue Building was once home to China’s largest publishing company.

DSC_0763A touch of Christmas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockbund.

DSC_0771The former British embassy had become a restaurant and a banquet venue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARockbund Art Museum redeveloped by architect David Chipperfield.

DSC_0789Railing in the Rockbund Art Museum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA piece by Heman Chong displaying artificial blossoms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe atrium and skylight were blocked off in order to house Heman Chong’s pieces.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe curve stairs in Art Deco style.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAReaching the top floors of the building.

DSC_0818At the top floor, a young man was reciting poems and other writings.

DSC_0822In some cases, the historical buildings were stripped down excepted the outer facades.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAView towards Pudong.

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Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China


SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China

The next morning, our friend told us to meet him near the metro station of People’s Square.  As instructed, we exited the metro and found our way to Huanghe Road.  Along the way, we stopped to admire an interesting building at no. 50 Huanghe Road.  After we met up with our friend, we headed straight for our tasty breakfast at the well known Jia Jia Tang Bao for their soup dumplings.  We queued in front of the restaurant for about 20 minutes before sitting down.  We ordered three different types of soup dumplings: pork, pork with crab paste, and pure crab paste.  The pure crab paste soup dumplings were fresh and delicious, definitely worth the 20 minute wait on the street.

After breakfast, our friend took us for a walk towards the Bund.  We walked past various residential neighborhoods.  Near Nanjing East Station, we went inside New World Daimaru Department Store to have a peek at the world’s biggest spiral escalator.  From Daimaru, it was only a few minutes walk to the Rock Bund, a mix-use redevelopment zone in the former foreign concession area, in which a series of heritage buildings were renovated into luxury shops and high-end restaurants.

DSC_0662The elegance and humanistic scale of No. 50 Huanghe Road illustrated a big contrast with the odd looking skyscraper in the background.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHuanghe Road was flanked with a number of interesting snack shops and local eateries.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAQueuing to eat at a place as famous as Jia Jia Tang Bao proved worthwhile.

DSC_0674Jia Jia Tang Bao is very popular with both locals and tourists.

DSC_0678Behind glass the staff were busy preparing the dumplings with meat and flour.

DSC_0681For such a big metropolis, many residential areas in Shanghai are surprisingly low density.

DSC_0687A street corner occupied by an interesting curved residential complex.

DSC_0698Sidewalk pavement fully utilized for drying laundry.

DSC_0701Mix use buildings with ground floor retail were common scenes in Shanghai.

DSC_0707Behind the street gate, a small residential community with internal alleyways is typical in the city.

DSC_0712Sidewalk pavement used for drying again and again.

DSC_0727The central atrium of New World Daimaru Department Store with a digital video screen at the top.

DSC_0728The spiral escalator ramping up the floors is cladded with bronze coloured panels.

DSC_0731Old westernized buildings could be seen all over the neighborhood near the Bund.

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Read other posts on Shanghai 2016:
0.0 SHANGHAI, 2016
1.0 SUZHOU MUSEUM, Suzhou, China
2.0 HUMBLE ADMINISTRATOR’S GARDEN, Suzhou, China
3.0 LION GROVE GARDEN, Suzhou, China
4.0 SOUP DUMPLINGS AND MORNING STROLL, Shanghai, China
5.0 ROCKBUND, Shanghai, China
6.0 M50, Shanghai, China
7.0 1933 SHANGHAI (老場坊) , Shanghai, China
8.0 POLY GRAND THEATRE (上海保利大劇院), Shanghai, China
9.0 FORMER FRENCH CONCESSION, Shanghai, China
10.0 POWER STATION OF ART, Shanghai, China
11.0 LONG MUSEUM (龍美術館), West Bund, Shanghai, China
12.0 THE BUND (外灘) AT NIGHT, Shanghai, China
13.0 TIANZIFANG (田子坊), Shanghai, China
14.0 CHINESE HAND PRINTED BLUE NANKEEN GALLERY (藍印花布博物館), Shanghai, China
15.0 LUJIAZUI (陸家嘴) OF PUDONG (浦東), Shanghai, China