12 janvier 2017

French Concession police story

Version Française I just finished the memoirs of Joseph Shieh (Xue Gengxin 薛耕莘 in Chinese) written with help of French journalist Marie Holzman. This is actually the kind of readings that leaves you with dozens, not to say thousands of questions.  Hired by the Shanghai French Police in 1930, Joseph Shieh made his way through those troubled years marked by the control of gangs on the French Concession, the fierce fight between Communist Party and Kuomintang party and later the Japanese invasion. He ended his life in 2008 at... [Lire la suite]

08 janvier 2017

Shanghai Art Deco top 10!

Version Française Art Deco is a word coming from the 1925 Paris Salon des Arts Decoratifs. This architecture trend is deeply related to the Shanghai landscape where Western influencies met with Asian culture. This style describes a way of life too, reflecting 1920s eagerness for modernity, speed and lightness. As WWI was over, fashion designers, artists as well as architects looked for a brand new way of shaping daily life of people. As Shanghai was a the midth of an economic boom, it immediately adopted the new wave as a strong... [Lire la suite]
05 janvier 2017

Top 10 de l'Art Deco à Shanghai

English version L'Art Deco, ce mouvement architectural né du Salon des Arts Décoratifs de Paris en 1925 à marqué durablement de son empreinte le paysage de Shanghai en y apportant le mélange unique entre influences chinoises et occidentales. Plutôt qu'une série de critères bien définis, ce style est plus un mode de vie. En effet, au début des années 1920, la tendance générale est à l'optimisme et à la modernité. Le premier conflit mondial achevé, le monde cherche en effet à se refonder dans le domine  des... [Lire la suite]
08 décembre 2016

Shanghai bikes

Version Française Among the first images I got from China, the thousands of Chinese workers riding bicycles is probably one of the most vivid of my teenage memories. In the 1970's, China was just waking up from the Cultural Revolution and was known in the world as the "Kingdom of bicycles" (自行车王国), representing 60% of the whole world production. Even after Mao's death in 1976, the dream of every family was "san zhuan yi xiang" (三转一响), meaning 3 spins and one sound, to describe  a wrist watch, a sewing machine, a bicycle and a... [Lire la suite]
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29 novembre 2016

Da Ke Tang, my cup of tea!

Version Française Having tea in the “Da Ke Tang” is one of the most authentic experiences I had (and still have) in Shanghai. Da Ke Tang is an old Art Deco villa, which belonged to a top member of Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang party in the 1930s. Hidden in the back of an alley on Xiangyang Road, this is the kind of place you would never find by accident. On the first time I went there, I could not believe my eyes: none of the original luxurious wood decoration had been changed. The floor, ceilings and door panels were all... [Lire la suite]
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23 novembre 2016

Shanghai butterfly

 Version Française  When recently flipping into Lynn Pan's wonderful book "Shanghai Style", I saw a picture of a lady sitting on the bumber of an elegant 1930s luxury car. She is gorgeous, staring at the photographer. She is dressed with Western clothes although she is undoubteddy Chinese and her hair is curled. She wears leather boots, in the maneer of an English Lady returning home after a fox hunt. This photo is the one of Hu Die, a prominent film star of Shanghai 1930s! Hu Die (meaning butterfly in Chinese) or Hu... [Lire la suite]
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13 novembre 2016

Vertinsky, the Russian soul of Shanghai

 Version Française Among the famous characters who happened to live in Shanghai 1930s, one quite particular is Russian singer Alexander Vertinsky. Born in 1889 in Kiev, Vertinsky started his singing career as a in 1916 with a most memorable performance as "Black Pierrot", embodying Russian melancholic soul with an expressionist version of the famous Comedia Del Arte character. At that time, other European artists like Sarah Bernhardt used to dress in black and white to emphasize the expressions of the face and hand moves... [Lire la suite]
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02 novembre 2016

Shanghai vertical village

Version Française I recently sneaked into one of the most surprising buildings in all Shanghai: Hamilton House. Hamilton House was erected in 1933 by architect office Palmer and Turner for real estate tycoon Victor Sassoon. Victor Sassoon was the heir of David Sassoon, a Sefardim Jewish who had fled Bagdad in 1829 after Dawud Pasha came to power. He settled in Bombay, today's Mumbai, where he created a business empire with help of other Baghdadi Jews. Although he never spoke English, he was made a British citizen to reward his... [Lire la suite]
20 octobre 2016

Bund 18 follies

Version Française When recently visiting Bund 18, I was impressed by French chef Joel Robuchon's bakery on the ground floor. Inside, most products, like sandwiches or cakes are delicately prepared, showing high quality and surprisingly affordable. A croissant would sell at 15 yuan only and a tart at less than 30, a far better price for value than in other fashionable shops. This new venue is one of the surprises of Bund 18! So let me introduce this amazing place.  History  Bund 18 was built in 1923, designed by... [Lire la suite]
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16 octobre 2016

Shanghai Halloween ghosts

Version Française Halloween is coming, so let's talk about ghosts for a while. When I arrived I Shanghai, I bought a photo album in which there was a big night picture of the Xiang Yang market (photo left), a sort of open air market common in Asia where people get cheap clothes and copies. Unfortunately, at the time I bought the book, this place was already gone as construction of IAPM shopping mall had begun. This is one exemple among others of how fast Shanghai changes and how almost impossible it is to keep updated with its latest... [Lire la suite]
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