Friday, November 26, 2010

Shanghai - Xuhui

be a french in Ferguson Lane for a day. Ferguson Lane (武康亭) was once Shanghai's French concession area in 1930s with well preserved buildings largely influenced by European Art Deco design style. nowadays the little lane (or complex to be more exact) has become a quiet bohemian-style lifestyle hub. loft-style offices, galleries, cafes and shops. sounds comparable to Xintiandi? don't expect the same hustle and bustle at Ferguson Lane, it's much smaller in size, nestled on Wuhang Road with an entrance you could have missed if not paying enough attention. shunning away from tourists, the place is more for locals and expats in Shanghai to hang out. wonderful place to enjoy a cup of coffee with some friends on a lazy weekend.

stylish office space

beautiful quite street outside of Ferguson Lane

Ferguson Lane is at: 374/ 376 Wukang Road

Two shops to note for the fashion-minded:

Mary Ching - founder Alison Mary Ching opened her first flagship designer shoe boutique in Ferguson Lane in 09 and slowly expanded her shoe empire internationally with stocklists in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. proud to be labelled as "Made in China", Mary Ching's shoes draws inspiration from Asian / Chinese aesthetics making use of a lot of oriental materials. it's said that Beyonce, Zhang Ziyi, Paris Hilton and Cameron Diaz, just to name a few, are fans. 

you may shop Mary Ching online:

quirky yet stylish wall of legs at Mary Ching

photo by iLook Magazine

D.I.S - dubbed from Dutch Items Shanghai, is a apparel chain founded by Jolie van Beek in 06 selling affordable European-style modern clothing in Shanghai. the shop in Ferguson Lane is tucked in the end of the lane in the corner, very private. most designs are very simple made with comfortable and nice materials (mostly jersey or cashmere) for everyday wear. 

find D.I.S at:

the end of Wukang Road links back to Huaihai Road, and my next stop was the former residence of Madame Soong Ching Ling (宋慶齡). 

serenity found at Mme. Soong's residence

a young Soong was already a liberal-minded activist 

married to Dr. Sun Yat-sen in Japan, 1915

Madame Soong, Mother of the Nation, was wife to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the first Chinese Republic and one of the most significant political figures of PRC during the early 20s. I remember reading about her history during my grade school years but much was forgotten until I was given the chance to visit her former residence, now a small memorial museum, to revive my admiration for the First Lady. the residence is an exquisite, elegant three-story building with a front and backyard surrounded by camphor trees. the house itself preserved in its original state since Mme. Soong left it, provides a glimpse of the lives of upper middle class Chinese in the 60s. one wing of the house is a museum devoted to her life displaying her photos, letters, original clippings of her work, clothes she wore and presents she'd received from state activities. 

read more about Mme. Soong at: wiki/Soong_Ching-ling

visit Mme. Soong's residence at: No. 1843, Huaihai Road M. Xuhui District, Shanghai
open hours: everyday 9am - 4:30pm

after all the history galore, time to stop for a break. Tun Run Tea House (唐韵茶坊) is an ideal location to kick back with friends or simply gain some quiet time to read alone with a pot of your favorite tea. a favorite hangout for college students during the weekdays and families on the weekends, it reflects the tea loving culture of Chinese. inside the two-story Chinese-style old building with red lanterns hanging at the entrance, through the foyer, one will find the lower level a big dimly lit hall serving all the snacks, fruits and dim sum buffet style at the center. on the side and surrounding are tables free to sit on a first-come-first-serve basis. on the upper level, it's a quieter area where sofas are lined next to the windows for more privacy. there are antique Chinese couch beds where visitors can take off their shoes and relax their legs on them. food is free to go along with the tea ordered, guests can obtain snacks from the lower hall throughout their stay. no wonder people can spend hours in here. I ordered my favorite Ginseng Oolong. there are many kinds of traditional teas and artistic teas (blossoming flower tea) served. quality of the teas is superb and I brought home a can. 

me picking up snacks, yum...what to get?

traditional Chinese decoration inside the tea house

Tun Run Tea House is located at: No. 199, Hengshan Rd., Xuhui district, Shanghai


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