Jewellery artist Cindy Chao makes a grand entrance in mainland China with an impressive and luxurious showroom in Shanghai, envisioned and created in much the same way as her jewels – with meticulous attention to detail and exceptional quality.
Cindy Chao The Art Jewel has just opened a luxurious private showroom in Shanghai – and along The Bund, no less. And as Chao endeavours to strengthen her presence in this important luxury market, she set her sights on one of the waterfront’s most prestigious addresses, the Somekh Building, home also to the Rockbund Art Museum. She spared no expense for the project, bringing together some of the world’s most esteemed artists and designers to create a space worthy to present her art jewels.
The jewellery artist reunited with renowned Dutch architect Tom Postma, with whom she collaborated to design her booth at TEFAF Maastricht last year. A long-time admirer of Postma, Chao instantly formed a connection with him, sharing his views on creating designs that are practical as much as they’re beautiful. For the Cindy Chao Shanghai Maison – as the space is called – Postma took cues from the architectural elements of the Somekh, bringing its facade into the showroom and later making that the prevailing theme of its interiors.
The space is teeming with both Eastern and Western influences. an approach Chao also famously adapts in her jewels. The design at the entrance references early Eastern and Western religious architecture, while timber panels on either side were sculpted by a Dutch master carver. A focal point in the showroom, however, is a bronze showcase sculpted by Postma himself, where Chao’s masterpieces are presented.
The showroom’s stately 400kg bronze door was designed by French-Swedish artist Ingrid Donat; as imposing at it’s stunning, it comprises eight hand-carved bronze panels. If that doesn’t take the breath away, the VIP room’s golden back wall certainly will – it’s designed with Baka patterns inspired by the primitive and tribal art that’s also found in the same space (also a creation of Donat). The patterns were hand-made on aluminium, with patina applied to make it appear to come alive.
It’s also hard to miss a pair of magnificent cabinets with Chinese lacquered panels, which were customised by French designer Hervé Van der Straeten and took more than 1,200 hours to complete. All this is presented under ambient lighting, which not only gives the otherwise luxurious space a warm and welcoming atmosphere, but also highlights the rich textures and dimensions of its interiors.
While Chao’s extraordinary art jewels are most certainly the highpoint of any visit, viewing them in such an alluringly tasteful environment will surely heighten the experience a hundredfold.