You know about the big hitters, but what
other Art Deco treasures does the city
have to offer? Here are some insider’s tips
Burlington Villas, 134, Lane 1213 Nanjing Xi Lu
Tucked into a lane near the better-known
Cosmopolitan Apartments and the old
Burlington Hotel (main image), these small but up-todate
(for the 1930s) apartments provided
aspiring young Shanghailanders (as they
called themselves) with a prestigious
address in a central location. And they
looked (and to us, still look) really cool. Read more about Burlington Villas here.
Former Lester Institute, 505 Dongchangzi Lu
Many Shanghai residents have passed
the distinctive Byzantine dome of this
once-landmark, now being surrounded on
all sides by high-rise new developments.
Today it is a hospice, but it was, for a
scant seven years, the Lester Institute of
Engineering – the MIT of China.
Art Deco lane neighborhood, Xinle Lu near Fumin Lu
This lilong or lane neighbourhood is unique
in that it is designed in the ‘Streamline
Moderne’ sub-genre of Art Deco design,
characterised by swooping curves and
liberal use of speedlines. It also is a
textbook example of the lilong format, with
just one entrance from the main street
leading to a matrix of internal lanes.
Villa house, 99 Fuxing Xi Lu
We don’t have any information on this
delightful house, which is a test for Art
Deco aficionados, as it displays elements
of all three Art Deco periods. Above the
main entrance a bas relief sculpture
with organic shapes typical of early
Art Deco is found. The rest of the
exterior sports plenty of speedlines
and lots of curves, characteristic of
the middle period of Art Deco design.
But the overall design of the house is
asymmetrical, usually found only in late
Art Deco buildings.
No 58, Lane 133 Shangwen Lu
Through the grime and the clutter, one can
discern that this was the grand home of a
wealthy Chinese family. Today it is home to
dozens of families – including, apparently,
a descendent of the original owners. But
he’s not talking.
Wm Patrick Cranley