Prada Rong Zhai 荣宅
“Storytelling” Liu Ye
寓言叙事 - 刘野
Rong Zhai, an early-20th-century Western-style garden villa in the heart of Shanghai that it spent six years restoring by Prada, transforming it into a cultural hub for exhibitions and performances, now open to the public. Originally built between 1899 and 1910 for a German expatriate, Rong Zhai was purchased and expanded in 1918 by Yung Tsoong-King, a flour-and-cotton tycoon from Wuxi. Under his ownership, the house became a harmonious melding of revivalism, ancient Greek motifs, Chinese aesthetics, and Art Deco details. Yung, his wife, and his seven children turned their home into a socially vibrant center, throwing 48-hour-long parties in the stained glass–ceilinged ballroom with rotating bands (so the festivities never stopped) and even erecting a stage for performances by Beijing opera star Mei Lanfang. In 1938, the Yung family fled to Hong Kong to escape the Second Sino-Japanese War. Rong Zhai then cycled from a government building for the Communist Party after the 1949 revolution into, more recently, offices for Rupert Murdoch.
bought Rong Zhai and, in 2011, enlisted famed Italian architect and longtime collaborator @roberto.baciocchi
to oversee its restoration. He worked painstakingly with local Chinese artisans and historians to ensure that the many surfaces and materials were all brought back to life using historically accurate techniques.
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