July 09, 2019
Shanghai’s sci-fi skyscape laced with neoclassical heritage is all the more fabulous when seen through the style-tinted specs of our resident editor Sharon Leece. Having sussed out the finest in local design in three gorgeous reads; China Style, China Modern and China Living, Sharon can also be found exploring Canada and relaxing with a forest-fresh slink at luxury abode The Bear Stand. Here, she lets us in on a Shanghai thing or two in the land of silk and money.
I adore wandering the leafy, plane-tree lined streets and hidden longtangs (lanes) of the Former French Concession district. Local designer ateliers and boutiques fill the refurbed (and not so refurbed) 1930s villas and lane houses, and are great for browsing and buying everything from baguettes to vintage memorabilia. Streetlife rules here, so grab a seat at a pavement café and watch the world go by. For brunch or lunch, check out hip eateries like RAC (Bldg 14, 332, Anfu Lu, near Wukang Lu) or Bird & Bitter (50 Wuyuan Lu, near Changshu Lu, Xuhui).
The Bund at night is quintessential Shanghai with its glamorously lit neoclassical buildings lining the riverside promenade. Once home to international banks and trading houses, the buildings now host high-end restaurants, art galleries and rooftop bars. Head to the 29/F rooftop bar at The Shanghai EDITION for champagne and lounging with panoramic views of Puxi’s heritage buildings and Pudong’s futuristic neon-lit skyline across the Huangpu River. Follow with dinner at Mr and Mrs Bund.
For glimpses into a more laid back, traditional way of life, Shanghai's small, neighbourhood parks are just the ticket. Pack a picnic and head to Fuxing Park, known for its music-loving clientele – you might even get a chance to join in the fun with the city’s infamous dancing aunties. Or sip a morning coffee on the rear deck of Ginger on the Park for bird’s eye views of Hunan Lu Park and local residents doing tai chi and bringing their bamboo-caged birds out for an airing.
Art walking along the riverside West Bund Cultural Corridor: a great place to enjoy some (hopefully) fresh air, and take in world-class art at West Bund, Long Museum and Yuz. New to the scene is art collector Qiao Zhibing’s much talked about Tank Shanghai gallery (made from five huge disused oil tanks). Follow with a trip to the South Bund for Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick’s mesmerising Fosun Foundation building with its moving bamboo curtain-like facade.
For a weekend away from the city, head up into the misty, bamboo-clad hills of Moganshan. Once a colonial getaway in the 1920s and 30s, Moganshan is now just 2.5 hours’ drive away and filled with refurbed, design-savvy village houses and cool boutique hotels. Hike the trails through bamboo-covered slopes and tea fields, then rest up at eco-stylish getaways like Naked Stables and Naked Castle. Clothes remain mandatory.
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with... Shanghai?
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