Historic Shanghai hotel becomes hotspot for international art

Global Business

Once called the Paris of the East, Shanghai is well-known for its unique Chinese culture and Western influences. This diverse mix is on full display at the Peace Hotel. Once an icon of old Shanghai, the building has now become an art center. CCTV News reporter Mi Jiayi reported this story from Shanghai.

With renaissance-style exteriors overlooking the Huangpu river, the hotel is located on the waterfront in central Shanghai. Built in 1908 the Peace Hotel is as one of the oldest buildings in the city.

Historic Shanghai hotel becomes hotspot for international art

Once called the Paris of the East, Shanghai is well-known for its unique Chinese culture and Western influences. This diverse mix is on full display at the Peace Hotel. Once an icon of old Shanghai, the building has now become an art center. CCTV News reporter Mi Jiayi reported this story from Shanghai.

During the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, it was home to Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese political leader.

The building has now been transformed into the Swatch Art Peace Hotel and Art gallery.

In 2011, the hotel partnered with a key supporter, the Swatch Group to begin the Faces and Trades project which invites 139 promising artists from around the world to live and showcase their art work for free.

In return for the free accommodations, artists must leave a piece of their work behind for the hotel walls.

Italian music artist, Chiara Luzzana was one artists selected for the project.

“My project, will be eight different soundtracks of eight districts in Shanghai, with all the noise, the screams, or the rumors around the city,” Luzzana said. “I turn the sound that I capture from the street into a rhythm, music, or melody.”

Chinese artist and project resident, Yuan Jinhua said the environment influences his art.

“It’s a luxurious location, luxurious space, and luxurious state that artists can achieve when they work here, it’s never been achieved before,” Yuan said. “The traces of history here, like the structures of the building, facade, bricks and stones, along with everything that time has left on the building has a great influence on my work here.”

Swatch Group President Susan Chen said respecting and protecting the culture in the city is part of the overall goal of the project.

“We need to respect the culture, because that’s the heart, the emotion of the Shanghainese here, therefore we find out there were certain places we must protect, we did restoration, not renovation,” Chen said. “We need to make sure where we couldn’t touch, means we need to restore it, for example, the facade, lobby, staircase, the beautiful and colorful glasses, and wooden structure.

The building which is open to the public also contains retail stores, a restaurant, and a boutique hotel.