Tuesday, 15 July 2008

about Chinese Style

Okay, I have left China. I am out of Beijing since two weeks. I don't miss much. Maybe that I had more time for writing. But it hopefully comes again when I am more settled in my new / old life. But there are still some open posts that I need to do... e.g. about Beijing, my life in Beijing and about leaving Beijing.

Here is one of them. It is my last publication in Beijing's urbane magazine in April 2008. It is about Chinese Art Deco or Shanghai Chic with photos from interiors in Beijing and Hong Kong.

My draft goes like this:

Last century, a very decorative style developed in Shanghai during its glamorous 1930s, just before World War II. It developed at a time when Shanghai was known as the Paris of the East - synonymous with decadence, romance and glamour. This bustling town was populated with gamblers, gangsters, singsong girls, opium traders and immigrant crowds from all over China and the world. It was parallel to the development of Art Deco styles in Europe that Shanghai experienced its own Art Deco revolution, a unique fusion of Eastern and Western design.

Bright colors and dark antique furniture from the East team up with Western Art Deco elements to create the famous so called 'Shanghai Chic' style. The Art Deco’s strong horizontal and vertical elements, its decorations reduced to geometrical shapes together with Jazzy American zigzags were combined with elaborated Eastern floral carvings of petals and leaves as well as with classic Chinese patterns.

Produced only in Shanghai and for just a brief time, roughly late 1920's to late 1940's, Shanghai’s Art Deco furniture is both rare and original. However the influence on Shanghai’s architecture can still be admired in many areas of Shanghai, especially on the Bund.

Entrepreneur David Tang is a huge fan of the pre-war Shanghai style and introduced it to modern Hong Kong by launching the first China Club on the top floor of the old China Bank Building. He turned the Club into a showcase for Shanghai Chic and for what could be developed further by melding the best of Eastern and Western styles. Following his concept he founded the shop Shanghai Tang, specializing in clothing based on traditional Chinese styles of glamorous pre-war Shanghai. Shanghai Tang also offers a small selection of decorative accessories for modern households.

Now, if you feel attracted by old Shanghai style and want to add a splash of it in your home, you can paint your walls in bright lime green or mustard yellow. Alternatively, using Chinese retro pattern wallpapers, birds, braches and flowers are the most common themes in these wallpaper design. Moreover, other signature elements to create a retro feel such as old Shanghai newspapers, calendars, black and white photographs, and old Shanghai posters; especially those cigarette, alcohol and movie ad posters. In addition, an old record player and a petal shaped pendant lamp or brass fan sitting next to a set of leather club chairs is also another key look for “Shanghai Chic”.

This was my draft. The version in the magazine was edited, of course, and shorter.

The pictures used in the article are one private interior in Beijing. And a corner of the China Club in Hong Kong.

I will show them again here and some more related to Shanghai style:

Shanghai Style in private residence in Beijing - source unknown

China Club in Hong Kong via 'China Style' by Sharon Leece photo by Michael Freeman

I love the atmosphere of the restaurant in the China Club in Hong Kong - via 'China Style' by Sharon Leece photo by Michael Freeman

'Pudong' Club Chair by Shanghai Deco company

Salt and Pepper by Shanghai Tang

Silver plated photo frame by Shanghai Tang.
It shows the typical Shanghainese deco mix of western Jazzy zigzag and Chinese ornaments.

And last but not least, some Shanghai poster girls at the weekend market (Panjiayuan) in Beijing.



I am thankful that I had the chance to become a regular contributor to urbane magazine in Beijing. It was an easy co-operation and a great experience! It will be much more difficult to find some similar job back here in Germany with no journalism education. But, now I have at least some references...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Moving Nightmares Part XXII

This is an email from our moving company (it was in my spam file for a while)... anyway... our container will sit in Beijing for a while:

"The latest announcement is that trucks that do not have the proper “emission standards”, and all non-Beijing plate trucks are abandoned from driving on the roads, we are experiencing a shortage of available trucks for line haul here in Beijing and we are experiencing many new restrictions related to trucking.

Due to this, there has been a huge increase for demand of trucks available for hire; plus, there are many import and export shipments are sitting in warehouses while exporters and importers wait to get inland transportation. From the last week of June, we have a serious hard time in booking container trailer, which can continue to Sep. 20th. Even the prices has been increased much higher than normal rates, we still unfortunately could not confirm or guarantee on timing to release the containers.

We are trying our best to arrange your container to be on vessel earliest possible as we can. My best estimation is to have them loaded into container in one or two weeks.

If there is any change to this situation we will keep you updated, and we will keep your shipment with free storage in our warehouse. Sincerely, I wish to have your understanding on this situation which is truly out of our control

Have I recommended Santa Fe lately in Beijing Cafe as the best moving company?

Well, well, after my experience about 10 days ago, I can say, every other moving company might be capable of the same or even better service at a better price because they might not be overbooked like Santa Fe and do not need to hire so many unexperienced staff.

This time is crazy for shipping goods in and out of Beijing. If you can postpone your shipment, wait until after September 20st, when the Paralympics are over as well and things return to normal.

Monday, 7 July 2008

A Beijing Poem

I found this poem from an unknown Beijinger:

The Olympics are coming,
8 August is near,
The skies are not bluer
I really do fear.

No more lorries or trucks,
vehicles only from here.
Prices will go up
I really do fear.

Alternate car days,
to keep the roads clear.
Crowded buses and tubes
I really do fear.

The hotels are built,
the room rates are dear.
They will stand empty
I really do fear.

No visas for expats,
no parties I hear.
So nothing to do
I really do fear.

I know what you're thinking,
I really do fear.
So I'll finish this verse
with this Olympic cheer.

clap, clap
thumbs up
clap, clap
arms up

Source: the yahoo group 'Beijing Cafe' - the topic was about the actual 'outrageous shipping cost' due to the Olympics. Link: Beijing Cafe message 22306

PS: This is my first post after I have moved out of China. I still have Beijing on my mind. More then I have imagined. But with the Olympics, the media is full with daily reports on Beijing - so I still feel I have things to say, to add, to correct, to contribute - at least a tiny part to the puzzle from my side.


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