6 years ago

The Blockbuster Issue

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FOOD AND LIGHT Left and right: A local noodle and BBQ shack in the Old Town and hot and delicious beef noodles up close. Opposite page: Illuminated tourist boats light up the Huangpu river IT’S AN EVERYDAY SIGHT TO SEE A ,000 CAR PARKED OUTSIDE A FOOD SHACK, THE CAR’S OWNER SITTING ON A LOW PLASTIC CHAIR ON THE PAVEMENT EATING A BOWL OF NOODLES WHERE TO STAY PARK HYATT – one of the city’s highest and best skyscrapers WHERE TO VISIT M50 – Shanghai’s art district including Shanghart and Madein galleries LE BARON – nightclub from Paris, now in the French Concession with amazing Karaoke rooms THE NEST – bar and lounge near the Bund and much cooler than the nearby tourist traps WHERE TO EAT DIN TAI FUNG – branches across town, great for Shanghainese soup dumplings MISS DING’S DINING – tiny upscale restaurant with 1920s European flourishes LOST HEAVEN – fantastic folk Yunnan cuisine experience CHANGING CITY Left: Old Town’s destruction has caused outrage in some people but improved living standards for others. Above: The French Concession by bike. Right: Jazz singer Jade Lee shows Shanghai’s cosmopolitan side at the Heyday club 38 j THE BLOCKBUSTER ISSUE

TRAVEL Etienne Dalançon is gazing out of a large window at one of the most incredible urban views in the world: “Just look at the lights and endless landscape. You look down and see a city constantly evolving – a new building, a new road-things happen here ten times faster than anywhere else on the planet, it’s almost too fast.” We’re on the 87th floor of Shanghai’s Park Hyatt which, when it opened in 2007, was the world’s highest hotel in the world’s second tallest building, the Shanghai World Financial Centre (SWFC). Dalançon is the hotel’s general manager and even though he sees this view everyday, as he says, it never fails to inspire. Until this year, the SWFC Tower was the landmark about which everything in the city seemed to revolve and his hotel played its role as an exclusive meeting and entertaining hub – the luxury calm in the middle of the storm, popular with tourists and ‘staycationing’ locals alike: “There was a joke running when we first opened. Although you can see the hotel from anywhere in the city, most of the taxi drivers didn’t know the address because the streets were so new, so we told our guests that ‘should you have any trouble, not to worry, just point out the building to the taxi driver and he will drive you home’.” But in a city of constant construction and change, no building can hold on to a superlative for long. In 1993, the Government made plans for three adjacent super-tall towers in Pudong, which is the east side of the city. Photos from the early 90s show fields and farms. Today Pudong is China’s financial heart. The first of these skyscrapers was completed in 1999: The Jin Mao Tower (88 floors) with its beautiful neo-art-deco angles. Then nine years later came the sleek SWFC (101 floors) known locally as ‘The Bottle Opener’ due to its rectangular aperture at the top. And this year, the kingpin is finally ready: The world’s new second tallest building, the Shanghai Tower (121 floors), will open for business in October. “The Government has made it happen and on time,” points out Dalançon. “Such long-term and massive projects are very difficult to plan and achieve. Shanghai can be proud.” The state-owned Shanghai Tower with its elegantly twisting form and eco-building credentials is a reflection of that pride. Designed by US-based Gensler architects, its lead architect Jun Xia has talked of the tower being a vertical city and an integrated place for work and play. It will be able to house 16,000 people daily with its mix of office, commercial and public space – with a freely accessible sky-garden located every 15 floors. Such inclusivity of use is a genuine achievement when most skyscrapers limit their public spaces, preferring instead to provide more rentable square metres for office use. Shanghai is a city divided by the Huangpu river: east and west, new and old. Pudong may have the postcard highrise skyline, but directly across the river is Puxi, with a famous riverside promenade called the Bund that’s arguably Asia’s finest architectural mile. It’s a succession of 20th century buildings, many were originally banks, that span styles from art deco to baroque to renaissance and are now five-star hotels, restaurants, shops and bars. The wide pedestrianised zone of the Bund is a good-natured battleground of selfie-sticks, tourists, wedding photographers and local families out for a stroll, especially at dusk when Pudong’s building-sized advertising displays begin their vespertinal duties. Explore a few streets back from the Bund and you’ll wander into the tightly packed old town, which contains the true communities of the Shanghainese. British novelist, J.G. Ballard, who was born in the city, described them better than anyone in his autobiography, Miracles of Life: “Inside every open doorway a small business was flourishing. A miasma of frying fat floated into the night, radio announcers gabbled, gongs sounded the start or end of a work shift, sparks flew from the lathes of a machine shop, mothers breastfed their babies as they sat patiently by pyramids of melons, traffic horns blared, sweating young men in singlets smoked in doorways… the ceaseless activity of a planetary hive.” The old town is slowly being dismantled, every six months another block is razed, people re-homed in the expansive suburbs – their disappearance notable on Google Map updates. Occasionally folk are unwilling to move out of lifelong homes, so-called ‘nail houses’, because they refuse THE BLOCKBUSTER ISSUE j 39




Jaguar Magazine celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from beautiful design to cutting-edge technology.

In this issue, we explore the art of creativity from the Brazilian masters who devised the graceful art of Capoeira, to the Irish artists mixing new culture with old. You will also discover the creative line that links Victorian wallpaper to the iPhone. While the multi-talented actor and performer, Riz Ahmed, explains why it is the right time to reveal his true self to the world.


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