Showcasing vintage furniture with a global twist
The Haipai Vintage Furniture and Artwork Exhibition, which kicked off in Minhang District on April 21, showcases some 4,000 pieces of antique Shanghai-style furniture owned by business tycoon Wang Li, known as “the queen of chairs” in collector’s circles.
Also on display are paintings from UN cultural ambassador Lu Zhongping, who designed the tiger in “Life of Pi,” and jade carvings from master Zhai Yiwei, whose work is on display at the British Museum, as well as the art of knitting and paper-cutting performed by intangible cultural heritage inheritors.
With popular songs of the 1930s playing in the background while women dressed in qipao took selfies among furniture and paintings, the monthlong exhibition creates a unique ambiance of old Shanghai.
For centuries, Shanghai has been the place where East meets West in China, and this merging of cultures is still the inspiration of many artists. The exhibition strives to bring that shimmering taste of old Shanghai to today’s visitors.
“Some furniture may date back hundreds of years, and many pieces blend various Western styles to create something original. That is what I mean by the spirit and character of Shanghai,” said Wang, also the curator.
Take one chair as an example. Visitors can detect a hint of simple American style in the cushion, which is cozy, soft and practical, but the shape of the chair is in the Ming Dynasty (1388-1644) style of rosewood. On the armrest are Roman-style columns and French-carved patterns.
“Film crews need to book the furniture one year in advance if they want it in their productions,” said Wang.
“I’m thinking of organizing trips here for my students learning art and design,” said Feng Xinqun, vice dean of the Fashion and Art Design at Donghua University, after visiting the exhibition.
“You can’t find designs like these anywhere else,” said Jiang Siyuan, a visitor. “They are the results of multiple cultures but at the same time remain authentic. ”
Date: Through May 21, 10:30am-5:30pm
Address: 299 Wuhe Rd