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One: Xin Tian Di


Typical alley of Xin Tian Di district, Shanghai

Shikumen, the Stone gate houses on narrow alleys combining Western and Chinese element that occupied up to 60% of Shanghai housing that first appeared in 1860 now has drastically down sized to this small area called “Xin Tian Di” which means ” New heaven and Earth”.  The old residential Shikumen building are now turned into beautifully designed restaurants, cafes and book stores earning a title: the very first ” Life style” center of China.  As a matter fact, it’s rather romantic, quite  and charming vibe rather loud and super touristy despite good amount international tourists enjoying the area eating and shopping!



IMG_6762Peeking into a restaurant, T8


IMG_6766Many of these Shikumen houses future lovely lovely window details. Never ending windows!


IMG_6751Then there’s this lovely open square area that houses many of outdoor and indoor seating restaurants, bars and cafes… It’s very cute and clean!



IMG_6767…and Lovely lush trees… I Love!

It’s bit touristy but also lovely and charming. It’s quite chilled and somehow reminds me of the film, In the mood for Love. If you are ever in Shanghai, stop by for a coffee and little shopping!

In the mood for love…

Two: Dongtai Lu Antique Market

IMG_6798Entrance of Dongtai Lu Antique market, Shanghai

Most of Shanghai’s old markets are gone, or converted to modern wares: clothing, watches, handbags and gadgets. But this long-running street bazaar specializing in reproduction of old antiques, crafts and traditional trinkets still abounds with atmosphere.  And I have to say the real deal of this market is not actually the goods in the market, it’s the street and houses that is hosting the market around. Locals live right behind the market completely unveiling everyday life in Shanghai. Men arguing over games of cards, women gossiping amidst the constant clatter of mahjong tiles, down dusty lanes strewn with cages of singing birds and laundry drying on bamboo poles.  It’s totally down to local and simply dirty but definitely interesting,













Three:  Taikang Lu

IMG_6872Another preservation of Shikumen Architecture in Shanghai, Taikang Lu

Maybe this would be the one single best place to visit if you only had a few hours to explore Shanghai. This old Shikumen district turned to relatively low budget shopping and dinning area is filled with good mix of traditional Chinese knickknacks, local designers’ shops and plenty of small lively restaurants and cafes where you can taste Shanghainese and other international food such as Thai ( plenty of them), Japanese , French and much more. Little alley like streets are neatly packed with hole in the wall like shops to more design conscious boutiques where you can get beautiful teas and handmade scarves and such.  Bright Red paper Chinese lantern definitely tells you where you are at the moment and adds bit of festivity to your good half day stroll to cover the whole district.

IMG_6874A cute Japanese yakiniku ( Table grill place).

IMG_6875Cobble stone and this herringbone stone tile are the 2 major materials covering the area.

IMG_6876There are many little witty touches in Taikang Lu. Maybe this is one place I felt I could read sort of what Today’s Shanghai’s Young generation is like.




IMG_6882Lane 248 was supposed to be bit more progressive than other alley, but honestly I didn’t find any differences here.

IMG_6889Somehow we were at sort of ” Food” area at this point. Cafes, restaurants, restaurants and more restaurants. This building has 2 open decks serving food semi al fresco on upper levels.



Rapidly growing Shanghai definitely shows a huge potential to become a metropolitan city yet I have surely experienced this undeniable gap between fast and fanciful materialistic growth and true culture to digest and own that material growth to a personal level. The culture that lives beneath your skin that is natural and that is real you. Right now, I see this massive bigger shell that is waiting for inner flash to grow and fill in and connect to become one, Shanghai as a true metropolitan city!

Till then, There will be needing of plenty of learning, researching and trying to live what that is ahead of Shanghai.  It was a real eye opening experience for me and also I am excite for Shanghai to face endless possibilities to reborn and to reach as a next big star.

IMG_6669The Waterhouse at South Bund, Shanghai

“The City gets lit up after the Sunset” was the opening line of Continental air’s promotional short film  for Shanghai shortly before the landing today.  Full of business men on board, the Continental Air Jet was also as just as new as those skyline of rising Shanghai. Along the rapidly growing China’s economy, Gap has opened up 3 beautiful brand new stores now in China and here I am with Cynthia to visit Gap stores and learn about what people and life of Shanghai is all about!  The culture, what they like to eat and wear, people adopting the new life of one of the fastest growing cities in the world!  

And here let’s start with one of the best new design Shanghai is proud of : the Waterhouse.

IMG_6675Once a wear house space back in 1930′s has completely have re born as a swanky new modern boutique hotel by doing a quite a good job preserving most part of facade from then. Industrial cool, rustic historic charm and great portion use of wood and glass gives that cutting edge yet delivers cozy Modernism of Today. 

IMG_6671Approaching the entrance.

IMG_6679The lighting art above the reception does not show well in this picture. But it says: ” You should have loved me.”



IMG_6680There are sort of 2 lounging areas. Right where is the reception then this open room connects to the bar area on the ground floor. 

IMG_6681Small pockets of lounge area that is well thought through concerning privacy and openness at the same time consisting high and low of textures of materials, colors and lighting.



IMG_6659Looking down the Lobby from the second floor.




IMG_6649Each room is supposedly unique in size and layouts but in this sort of interior.

IMG_6644Tinted glass wall and concrete bathroom is quite zen and beautiful. Simple.


IMG_6696The court yard.


IMG_6697The roof top garden.


IMG_6670The restaurant on the ground floor.


For more detail, click here.





IMG_68231933 Shanghai, Shanghai

This 4 story Massive Solid concrete maze Slaughterhouse built in early twenteeth century is maybe the one single thing that’s the most inspiring architecture standing in Shanghai and even in the world.  I am totally impressed.

Located in the historic Hongkou District, 1933 Shanghai (上海1933老场坊) was built amidst the vibrant urban landscape of pre-communist Shanghai. Designed originally by British architects, and built in 1933 by Chinese developers, the building was originally intended for use as a slaughterhouse but served a number of purposes over the years from medicine factory, cold storage facility, to its current incarnation as a ‘commercial hub for creative industries’.  And this is the last one left such built out of 3, one in London and one in US, but they are demolished by now.

The building was commissioned by the then Shanghai Municipal Council with the high-quality cement aggregate required to support the load-bearing needs of the building was imported from the Portsmouth area of the UK. After being abandoned and falling into disrepair the building was extensive restoration in 2008. Built around a central atrium, which served as the abattoir’s workshops, each floor is connected to an outer shell by a series of interlocking ramps, bridges, and spiral staircases which were designed to control the flow of both people and cattle being processed through the building.  

Here are the pics.

IMG_6814The facade of 1933 Shanghai, the ultimate formal Slaughterhouse.


IMG_6816Here to the right, the central Atrium to the right and so called ” air bridges” to transport and control cattles.


IMG_6821So beautiful and So haunting. Imagine all those cattles flowing up there in their deadly heavy marching…

IMG_6824After the RMB100 million restoration back in year 2008, the formal slaughter house became this one gigantic commercial space such as cafes, interior shop, high end restaurant and creative office spaces for many design and architect firms. It is still quite deserted ( I mean this space is Massive)  but there are handful of  business that are interesting.



IMG_6826Check out the cattle signs.

IMG_6845The Bull Restaurant, Shanghainese Cuisine.


IMG_6827There are 26 ‘air bridges’ of various widths splayed out at different angles, provoking feelings of both confusion and fascinating at how it could have been conceived. 





IMG_6831A cool public signage.

IMG_6832One of many empty spaces awaiting for a right owner for a right usage.











IMG_6847I am inside of central atrium. 




IMG_6851The top floor.











You can find 1933 Shanghai, otherwise known as “Old Millfun” at No. 10 Shajing Lu

(near Jiulong Lu) †(近九龙路).

Absolute Must Check out when you are in Shanghai.