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May 3, 2021

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Hectic activities in city during break

Shanghai’s downtown areas are brimming with art, culture and commercial activities over the Labor Day holiday.

The Floor, a commercial complex that offers a subtle blend of historical charm with modern amenities, has opened in the Xintiandi commercial zone in Huangpu District, creating a new hangout, landmark and a site for photographers.

Standing in the intersection of Madang and Danshui roads, it is the first work of renowned French architect and Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel in Shanghai.

“He is a national treasure of France,” said French Consul General in Shanghai, Benoit Guidee. “He has made great contributions to cultural exchanges between China and France. He has designed the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. Another masterpiece — Pudong Art Museum — will open soon.”

The 45,000-square-meter Floor complex looks more like a welcoming community.

The facades are painted in tender colors, but inside it is red. Exquisite corridors and bridges link stores on two sides, and balconies stretch out to provide venues for the flash mob and art activities.

About 2,500 potted flowers are hung on walls.

“Shanghai’s past is inscribed into the bricks and mortar of this area,” Jean Nouvel said. “Between Madang and Danshui roads, I tried to create something that can reawaken forgotten memories. So, it is built into local urban texture — narrow lanes under trees. I want to create a new promenade and unique street.”

The complex has 100 percent occupancy. Of them, nearly 60 percent are first-time stores in Shanghai and more than 20 percent are wanghong (Internet celebrity) stores.

Istituto Marangoni, an Italian school of fashion and design, opened its first-ever store in the world here and will sell collections of brands by eight of its graduates including Ricostru, Atziluth and Cici Cheung. Visitors will also have the chance to interact with stylists from the school.

In the HKRI Taikoo Hui mall in Jing’an District, the annual “Play Me, I’m Yours” campaign is back. Eighteen hand-painted pianos have “popped up” inside and outside the mall. Visitors are welcome to play for free. The artwork on the pianos, featuring sharp colors and cartoon figures, represents street art.

Since 2018, the mall has donated 50 pianos to society.

Last year, it collaborated with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation and World of Art Brut Culture to invite artists and students to paint 17 pianos. Two were sent to the Shanghai Children’s Hospital and Jing’an Zhabei Central Hospital.

This year, it will work with the Jing’an Youth League Committee to hold a piano competition to celebrate the 100th year of the founding of the Communist Party of China.

“I love it,” said 73-year-old Huang Weimin. “I don’t have a piano at home. It’s good that I can play piano for free. I’ve been learning to play the piano for four years. I hope that one day I can hold a concert.”

An art exhibition is ongoing at the Century Link Mall in the Pudong New Area.

Called “Love is all,” it features giant art installations of showy flowers and theatrical human faces, mostly made from fiberglass. Artist Song Santu said she hopes to explore the relationship between the universe, women, and plants.


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