A cultural spectacle to behold in Shanghai Tower
Founded in Beijing in 1996, the Guanfu Museum is one of China’s most well-known repositories of art and culture, and the establishment has recently expanded its presence to the soon-to-be-opened Shanghai Tower, the highest building in the country.
The museum forms part of the Guanfu Baoku project, which also comprises the Baoku Art Center. Both spaces are located on the 37th floor of the Shanghai Tower.
The final component of the project is the Baoku Treasury, China’s largest underground vault that has 30,000 private safe boxes.
The facility, which is located five levels beneath the building, is equipped with security systems that are even more sophisticated than bank vaults, as well as hi-tech environmental controls that ensure precious artworks are stored in the perfect conditions.
“My ambition is to build a museum that people, who have never been there, cannot imagine what it is like, and for those who actually have been there to be unable to describe it to others,” said Ma Weidu, the founder of the museum, at the launch of the Guanfu Baoku project earlier in November.
Ma said that about 95 percent of the traces of human civilization will eventually be eliminated, with the remaining 5 percent forming China’s cultural legacy. The purpose of the museum was hence to “win the public respect for this 5 percent”.
The Shanghai Guanfu Museum has five exhibition halls containing more than 500 artifacts such as ceramic works, gold pieces, antique furniture, Buddha statues and textiles. The ceramic collection is especially impressive as it features works from the Song Dynasty (9601279) and presents a comprehensive overview of the ceramic arts scene during that age.
Upon exiting the museum space, visitors will enter the Baoku Art Center, a space that features the reproduction of an ancient Chinese garden and a public area named “Olive Circle”, designed by Dutch architect Alfonso Wolbert.
At the center is a 480-squaremeter ballroom with an enamel floor. The space, which won a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest enamel hall, required a total of 321,681 combined working hours by 134 craftsmen to complete.
The official opening of the Shanghai Guanfu Museum has been scheduled for next year when the Shanghai Tower is officially operational. The building, which stands at 632 meters high, is currently considered the tallest in the country. Together with the Jinmao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center, the trio of high-rise buildings anchor the city’s iconic Lujiazui landscape.
Gu Jianping, president and general manager of Shanghai Tower Construction and Development Co, said that the company decided to include the Guanfu Baoku project because it wanted the building to stand out from the countless high-rise buildings are constantly being built these days.
“We wanted a distinctive cultural identity for Shanghai Tower,” said Gu. “With the inclusion of this project we have managed to achieve a vertical feat as well as cultural depth.”
The Guanfu Museum has more than 500 historical items on display.