How to spend an aes­thet­i­cally in­spir­ing 48 hours in China’s se­cond city | 到臨中國第二大城市愉快度過48小時

Shang­hai’s glory days might have ended with World War II, but the Paris of the East is un­der­go­ing an artis­tic, ar­chi­tec­tural and de­sign re­vival to ri­val its me­te­oric rise to cul­tural rel­e­vance in the early 1900s. From in­spir­ing eater­ies and bound­ary-push­ing bou­tiques, to stylish ho­tels and cre­ative art spa­ces, here’s our guide to some of the hottest de­sign des­ti­na­tions in China’s se­cond city.



Eschew the big names and hun­ker down in The Water­house at South Bund, one of the city’s orig­i­nal bou­tique ho­tels. Re­alised by Neri&Hu De­sign and Re­search Of­fice (with­out whom the words "de­sign in Shang­hai" can­not be ut­tered), this 19-room prop­erty oc­cu­pies a ‘30s ware­house in a his­toric dock­yard district on the banks of the Huangpu River. The in­dus­trial ar­chi­tec­ture of the build­ing has not only been con­served, but el­e­vated. Orig­i­nal con­crete and brick­work are left ex­posed to con­trast with new sys­tems of cir­cu­la­tion that im­prove the flow of the space and guests’ in­ter­ac­tion with the de­sign. The rooms are min­i­mal, re­fined and com­fort­able, fit­ted out with fur­ni­ture by the likes of Arne Ja­cob­sen and Hans Weg­ner. The ho­tel also boasts a mod­ern European restau­rant, Ta­ble No. 1, and a rooftop bar of­fer­ing spec­tac­u­lar views of the Pudong sky­line.

別再迷戀主流大牌,快來城中其中一所原裝精品酒店水舍·上海南外灘酒店走走看看。這座由如恩設計研究所打造的19房物業建有1930年代倉庫,反映工業碼頭的歷史背景,並跟黃浦江畔為鄰。原裝大樓的工業建築不但被細意保留,更加有所提升,以外露的原裝混凝土和磚材跟新建、改善客人與設計體驗的循環系統作亮眼對比,大玩公用空間與私隱天地的概念。房間採簡約、細緻又舒適的設計,配置來自Arne Ja­cob­sen和Hans Weg­n­er之手的傢具。酒店內的外灘第一台餐廳大走現代歐洲路線,而水舍露台酒吧則飽覽黃浦江美景。

Shang­hai boasts a cor­nu­copia of culi­nary op­tions, promis­ing to sat­isfy even the most dis­cern­ing of gour­mands. Din­ner reser­va­tions should be made at Xin­tiandi’s Xixi Bistro – it’s the se­cond it­er­a­tion of the in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar bar-restau­rant af­ter li­cens­ing is­sues forced the first to shut­ter up, and has been warmly wel­comed back by the city’s din­ers. Span­ning two floors, the down­stairs speakeasy-style bar em­bod­ies ‘30s Shang­hai glam­our with jewel-toned vel­vet up­hol­stery, or­nate il­lu­mi­na­tions and art deco-in­spired ap­point­ments, while the up­stairs din­ing room is a riot of flo­ral wall­pa­per, state­ment lanterns dif­fus­ing soft, low light and de­light­fully mis­matched table­ware. Ex­pect well ex­e­cuted Chi­nese-Ital­ian dishes ideal for shar­ing that lean more to­wards lo­cal flavours than European ones, tea-in­fused cock­tails and gen­uinely ex­cel­lent ser­vice. For an af­ter-din­ner change of scenery, en­joy post­pran­dial sips at Ca­lypso, an AvroKO de­signed wine bar at Jing An Shangri-La Ho­tel. In­spired by the nearby for­mer res­i­dence of Mao Ze­dong, it is a vi­sion in glass and bam­boo, at once con­tem­po­rary and in­flu­enced by Chi­nese her­itage.


In search of an un­miss­able brunch spot? Look no fur­ther than High­line. Since open­ing in late 2016, it has all but eclipsed its peers thanks to ex­quis­ite in­te­ri­ors and a mod­ern Amer­i­can menu. Pas­tel ap­point­ments and retro curves re­call a laid-back Cal­i­for­nia meets mid-cen­tury Mi­ami aes­thetic, while a cu­rated sound­track of lesser known hits from the 80s and be­yond adds just the right amount of am­bi­ence. A com­pact lunch menu de­liv­ers gen­er­ous por­tions of com­fort clas­sics – think chicken and waf­fles, a brisket sand­wich and French toast sticks – which means you’ll be tempted to linger long into the af­ter­noon.


BOU­TIQUE BEAUTY Imag­ined by Shang­hai de­sign roy­alty, Neri&Hu, The Water­house at South Bund is an ar­chi­tec­tural vi­sion in glass, ex­posed brick, and con­crete, where old and new con­verge.精品之美由上海設計達人Neri&Hu構想的水舍·上海南外灘酒店是個揉合玻璃、外露磚面和混凝土的新舊共融建築。

MID-CEN­TURY MARVEL High­line has fast es­tab­lished it­self as Shang­hai’s pre­mier brunch spot thanks to ex­quis­ite Mi­ami-in­spired in­te­ri­ors and a mod­ern Amer­i­can menu.


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