Ten Shanghai Art Deco Buildings
This Saturday (June 14, 2014) we’ll take a stroll through the Art Deco of Shanghai’s former French Concession. We’ve picked out some of our favorite buildings along the route, to give you a bit of a preview.
Join us: 10am, corner of Gao’an & Kangping Roads, RMB 200. Rain or shine!
The Amyron Apartments, 1941. French architect Alexandre Leonard’s love poem to his Russian wife, Anna Leontiev – they lived in the two-storey penthouse and their initials are in the entrance lobby terrazzo. Maritime Art Deco, from the balconies to the ship’s railing staircase.
Rong Mansion, 1935. Another Maritime Art Deco beauty, with cruise ship lines, the house was built for Shanghai’s fabulously wealthy “Textile King” – and later ‘red capitalist – Rong Desheng. All of Shanghai was abuzz with talk of his kidnapping, from the gates of this house, in 1946.
Washington Apartments, 1928, Russian architect Alexander Yaron. Dominating the corner of the street, the building features geometric lines of Art Deco, and charming details like roses, which look as if they’ve been sculpted from icing.
Georgia, 1942, Shanghainese architect Robert Fan Wenzhao. Sheer grandeur on plane-tree lined Avenue Petain. Native son Robert Fan designed this grand, nearly unadorned late Art Deco building, drawing the eye up its lines and seven-storey central tower.
Lincoln Apartments, 1930. High Art Deco detailing in the exterior and the zigzag ironwork staircase railings makes this a classic. As does all the gossip about the Shanghai politician and his Peking Opera actress mistress who had an ill-fated love nest there in the 1940s…
Liberty Apartments, 1937. A classic Art Deco tower, with chocolate tile, the nine-storey Liberty wouldn’t look out of place in Manhattan. Interior details remain, including lovely ironwork numbers.
Midget Apartments, 1931. Alexandre Leonard. Built to fit an awkwardly-shaped piece of land, the Midget lives up to its name with tiny apartments, but the exterior design is big Art Deco – organic roses-in-icing and a central Art Deco tower. Interior details, including the Art Deco mailboxes, remain.
Uptown Apartments. The name, the year and the architect of this building is a bit of a mystery – but its terrific Art Deco lines is not. Possibly the narrowest building in Shanghai, the Uptown boasts fine porthole windows.
Normandie Apartments, 1924, Hungarian architect Ladislau Hudec. Hang on … the Exposition in Paris that launched the Art Deco style wasn’t until 1925, so what’s the Normandie doing here? True, the architectural style is French Renaissance, but Hudec’s use of the shape of a cruise ship is pure Art Deco. Plenty of ghosts in this building.
Liu Cen Lou, circa 1940, Swiss architect Rene Minutti. We love this for its clean, modernist lines and the interior details – the dove and harp design in the terrazzo; the Art Deco numbers on each floor.