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November 11, 2023

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More than a destination for viewing art

THE West Bund in Xuhui District was once home to Shanghai’s earliest iron, coal and oil industries. The former coal wharf, cement factory and giant fuel tanks have been converted into cultural venues.

Among them, the West Bund Museum, which has tied up with the Centre Pompidou, is a major attraction. Over a five-year period, the Centre Pompidou and West Bund Museum will host exhibitions, seminars, performing arts, educational activities, and cultural outreach with the aim of boosting cultural and artistic exchanges between China and France.

Designed by British architect David Chipperfield, the West Bund Museum broke ground in 2017. Two years later, the museum opened to the public to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and the 55th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-French diplomatic relations.

Architecture style

A raised public esplanade above the floodplain surrounds the building, providing a beautiful view of the Huangpu River. The esplanade’s eastern edge is defined by a continuous sequence of steps leading to the riverbank.

The museum is made up of three structures arranged around a central lobby like a pinwheel. Each structure is 17 meters tall, with an upper and lower level. The main exhibition spaces are on the upper level.

The lower stories contain a multipurpose hall, an art studio and educational spaces. They are partly below ground level and lit by clerestory windows.

The central lobby features a double-height atrium, whose roof is lower than the three main structures’ rooflines and cantilevers far beyond the building toward the river and the road. The canopy is supported at either end by a massive tapering column that draws emphasis to the entrances.

The three main structures are coated in translucent recycled glass, which gives them a complex and opaline appearance. The facade, which is prismatic at night, contrasts with the smooth brightness of the plaster-clad hovering roof canopies.

Café and restaurant

The West Bund Museum is an excellent choice for people looking for a coffee break.

Sitting at the Beaubourg restaurant on the second story and facing the river, or at Café Les Halles at the entrance on the first floor, a blend of abstraction and minimalism not only entertains the eyes but also the taste buds.

One will find the familiar tableau of Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) or Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) on the surface of a cake. A photo of the cake is sure to win you a lot of likes from your WeChat friends.

For parents who bring their children to the museum, Le Chai on the B1 level is an excellent option for pleasant family time. Catering to the needs of both parents and kids, the food concentrates on nutritious and healthful family recipes.

Best-sellers at gift shop

Pillow collection

Taking inspiration from Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s exhibition “People of Tomorrow,” the pillow collection showcases the artist’s intricately designed symbols, encapsulating the essence of his unique artistic language, boundless creativity and resplendent colors that evoke viewers’ innate artistic sensibility.

Elevate your surroundings with these exquisite pillows, allowing them to transport you to a realm of profound imagination and boundless inspiration.


Opulent color pencil set

On the occasion of Kandinsky’s 155th birth anniversary in 2021, the Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project presented the first large-scale retrospective exhibition in Asia, titled “Kandinsky: The Pioneer of Abstract Art.” This exhibition took the audience on a captivating journey through the vibrant world of the 20th-century art maestro.

Inspired by his works, the museum collaborated with Chung Hwa, an eminent Chinese pencil brand, to unveil the 36-color water-soluble pencil set. The opulent set also includes artist-grade sketchbooks and coloring posters, meticulously crafted to resound with Kandinsky’s artistic ethos.

It epitomizes the fruitful synthesis of an esteemed Chinese heritage brand and a visionary master artist, symbolizing the harmonious fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.

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