29 juillet 2014

Kaiping, Xiamen: The returnees style!

Version française I recently went to Xiamen Gulangyu Island (Fujian) and was actually fascinated by the architecture there. Looking for style or references is almost impossible as the buildings do not seem to belong to any particular trend. The influences of the Portuguese or the French cannot be denied but they are closely mixed up with some typical Chinese elements. When I was thinking where I saw such shapes in China, a name finally came to my mind: Kaiping, near Guangzhou! As in Xiamen, Kaiping “Diaolou” or watchtowers which... [Lire la suite]

02 juillet 2014

La renaissance des banques shanghaïennes

 English version Je souhaitais depuis longtemps parler des banques de Shanghai mais comme ce sujet à déjà été traité en long et en large, je ne trouvais rien de nouveau à dire. Pourtant, ces dernières années, le Bund et ses environs connaît un renouveau tel qu'aucun livre sur le sujet n'est plus vraiment à jour. Alors je me lance! Longtemps considerée comme la plus grande place financière en Extrême-Orient, Shanghai devient désormais la capitale asiatique du luxe et d'un nouveau style de vie. Le patrimoine immobilier... [Lire la suite]
02 juillet 2014

Shanghai heritage banks

Version française  It has been a while I wanted to write about Shanghai heritage banks. One of the reasons why it took me so long is that many things have already been said on this topic as Shanghai was THE city of banking in East Asia in the 30s. However, the recent transformation of the city into a fashion and luxury shopwindow made the bank issue come to life again. As Peter Hibbard commented in his book “The Bund Shanghai, China faces West”: “Shanghai, once the Wall Street of Asia is... [Lire la suite]
02 juin 2014

1933 and beyond!

Version française Those who know me can testify that I am not really fond of dreadful or gloomy places. So they might be surprised by my commenting of a former slaughterhouse in Shanghai.   The 1933 Old Millfun, as it called, is indeed the former largest slaughterhouse in Asia and was build, as its name suggests it, in 1933 by British architect Balfours. The place is not only famous for its and dull past but more for its more recent transformation into a most trendy and fashionable venue in Shanghai. 1933 has indeed a... [Lire la suite]
22 mai 2014

As time goes by in Shanghai

Version française I had the priviledge to be invited this week at a private projection of the documentary "As Time Goes By In Shanghai" by German filmmaker Uli Gaulke. This 90 minutes document tells the story of six old gentlemen, the members of the famous Peace Hotel Old Jazz Band. Through the odissey of these some 70 years old or more figures, we definitely understand the dramatic changes which occured in China over the last sixty years (read my article in French Les Chinois face à leur Histoire).  As the... [Lire la suite]
22 mai 2014

As time goes by in Shanghai

English version Cette semaine , j'ai eu l'honneur d'assister à la projection privée au Fairmont Peace Hotel d'un petit bijou: "As Time Goes By In Shanghai", documentaire de 90 minutes du réalisateur allemand Uli Gaulke relatant l'incroyable histoire des six vénérables vieillards qui forment le Peace Hotel Old Jazz Band. A travers le parcours de ces septuagénaires (pour les plus jeunes), on réalise avec émotion les énormes changements intervenus en Chine depuis soixante ans (voir article sur les Chinois face à leur... [Lire la suite]

24 février 2014

Heritage swimming pools in Shanghai

Looking for a place to swim last summer, I got into the idea of looking for old swimming pools in Shanghai as a habit from my time back in Paris. Actually there were a few swimming pools in Shanghai during the 30’s, most of them related to foreign clubs.    The longest in town The longest swimming pool could be found inside the Cercle Sportif Français on Rue du Cardinal Mercier (today Maoming Road). A 54 meters long swimming pool covered by white and blue tiles and overlooked by a bar (left photo). Indoor swimming... [Lire la suite]
28 janvier 2014

Good bye Old Shanghai!

Version Française As China is going to start the Year of the Horse, I want to appologize to post this less enthousiatic article about the city heritage. I hope the efforts untertaken by the city to preserve its culture and architecture legacy will go on in 2014. Happy New Year to everyone. 新年快乐!   The famous poet Aimé Césaire once said: "A people without memory is a people without future". Hearing this, what should we think when we see entire quarters of the Old Shanghai being torn down by bulldozers? Today almost 80% of... [Lire la suite]
27 janvier 2014

Good bye Old Shanghai!

English version Alors que la Chine s'apprete à célébrer l'Année du Cheval, je m'excuse par avance de poster un article moins optimiste qu'à l'habitude. Malgré le constat mitigé que je fais ici, j'espère que se poursuivra les efforts entrepris par la ville de préservation de la culture shanghaienne . Je vous souhaite à tous une excellente année du Cheval sous le signe de l'espoir! 新年快乐! Aimé Césaire disait «Un peuple sans mémoire est un peuple sans avenir». Que penser alors quand on voit des pans entiers du Vieux Shanghai... [Lire la suite]
20 janvier 2014

The soul of the Peace Hotel 1/2

Version Française Although I have visited many times the Peace Hotel (read 25/10/2013 article and 6/2/2013 article), I still had no occasion to see the real heart of it, I mean the apartments of Sir Victor Sassoon. As it is now the case, I would like to share with you this unique experience. Who is Victor Sassoon? Heir of a rich Jewish Sefardim family from Bagdad, Victor Elice Sassoon is the second generation of Sassoon living in Shanghai. Quite of figure of a man, Sir Victor Sassoon was fond of parties, women... [Lire la suite]