Introducing the second in our Postcards From… series,
created in collaboration with travel journal Cereal.
In celebration of Chinese New Year we bring you our story
of Shanghai, the location of one of our newest stores in Asia. Discover a gallery of Shanghai postcards, with words
by Cereal’s editorial team.
As the sun rises over Shanghai, the languorous mist that has hung over the city in the murky hours before dawn is pierced with searing light. This iridescent haze cleaves a valley through the haar above the Huangpu River, sending shimmers over its glassy surface as the great tributary makes its journey towards the East China Sea.
The skyscrapers of the Lujiazui business district transform from dark monoliths into jutting, glimmering shards
The light, now ripening to a rusty gold, catches the beams and scaffolding on the new buildings sprouting up along the banks of The Bund, and across the water, the skyscrapers of the Lujiazui business district transform from dark monoliths into jutting, glimmering shards. Every unique detail of this vast metropolis – from the New Years lanterns decorating the winding alleyways of Tianzifang to the blue cigarette smoke curling above card players in the People’s Park – is brought into sharp focus.
Over the last two decades, Shanghai has become one of the fastest developing cities in the world. Home to the largest population in China, the city’s booming industry and rising status as a global financial centre exemplify the exponential growth of the country as a whole. Recognised as a haven for luxury retail, Shanghai’s interminable development of restaurants, museums, parks, and galleries provide the city with a rich cultural repertoire.
The lanes of Tianzifang are a hub for craft stores, eateries, and bars. Built in the early 1930s, this concealed village still bears the Shikumen architecture of its initial design. Telephone wires, clothing lines, and exposed air-conditioning hubs festoon its walls and its engraved stone doorways display the district’s original street names. Whether it’s stopping by Café Dan to sample a speciality coffee or relaxing with a bourbon and green tea cocktail and Hillbilly Tea, one can easily become engrossed in Tianzifang’s diverse offering of boutiques and cafes.
Food is tightly woven into the fabric of daily life in Shanghai. The very air of the city is infused with the scents of steaming bau, fried noodles, and toasted you xuan. The care and attention that locals pay to cooking and dining is felt most tangibly at this time of year as the city’s population prepares for the feasting and merriment of the New Year.
Shanghai has a seemingly endless stream of cuisines and eateries to experience
Restaurant aficionados will find themselves faced with a plethora of culinary delights, whether it’s a bowl of infused noodles at Noodle Bull or an Angus beef brisket club sandwich at Tock’s Deli; there is a seemingly endless stream of cuisines and eateries to experience. A true meat lovers’ paradise can be found in the form of The Grumpy Pig, a restaurant devoted to owner Garry Wang’s two great passions, hip hop and pork. Fat folds, pork belly sliders, house richness ramen, pulled pork fries, and BBQ spiced ribs arrive one after the other, accompanied by the sounds of J Cole and washed down with Brooklyn East IPA.
Within the great forest of skyscrapers that stretches into the distance on every side of the city, there is an abundance of modern and contemporary architecture to view and experience. Shanghai is noted for having more Art Deco buildings than any other city, and perhaps the greatest example of this collection can be found in the form of 1933 Shanghai: a concrete former abattoir built in the early 20th century. Located in the sprawling urban landscape of the historic Hongkou District, this four-story maze, which is now a developing retail space, provides a fascinating insight into that period of design.
The sheer volume and diversity of work on show at the Power of Station of Art make it a must see
Despite the eviction of some 70 artists from Weihai Road in 2011, an area considered to be the cornerstone of Shanghai’s contemporary art movement, the city’s galleries have flourished in recent years. Of the many museums worth visiting, the sheer volume and diversity of work on show at the Power of Station of Art make it a must see. Additionally, the Rockbund, with its tasteful curation and unadorned simplicity, is an ideal space to spend a peaceful morning.
Of the many hotels spread across Shanghai, few convey the painstaking attention to detail and clean minimalism of the Waterhouse. Situated at the southern end of The Bund – adjacent to one the city’s latest cultural hotspots, The Cool Docks – the boutique hotel projects a balance of the antique and contemporary, retaining the industrial aesthetic of the old building while ensuring comfortability and functionality for its guests. Conceived by Neri and Hu Design and Research Office, the hotel houses Table Number One: a sleek, European influenced restaurant which encourages communal dining by offering a tantalising sharing menu on long oak tables.