In a city like Shanghai the shiny glass skyscrapers seem to define it, but there are parts that have not changed much since the early 20th century. One such area is the Bund, and it’s home to a heritage hotel that respects the city’s history… and makes it: by inviting artists to live, work and exhibit their creations at the hotel.
The Bund is a Huangpu River waterfront area in the former International Settlement. Today the Swatch Art Peace Hotel occupies the south building of the landmark turn-of-the-century Peace Hotel.
The building has been sensitively restored, retaining its pretty Edwardian facade, and fitted out to a high-end specifications, with only seven guest rooms and suites… and eighteen artists’ studios and residences.
The Ultimate Artist Residency
Swatch is a well-known watchmaker brand that has always been connected to and inspired by popular culture and contemporary art. Their watches often became canvasses for famous artists, designers and musicians.
With the Swatch Art Peace Hotel the link to the art world takes on a new significance.
The Artist Residency Program accepts applications from artists all over the world and provides a creative space for the selected invitees, known and unknown artists, to live and work in the artist studios on the hotel premises for periods up to six months.
The only condition on the part of the artists is to focus on their art and leave behind a “trace” of their activities, which usually means a piece of art created by the artist during his or her stay.
Space, Design, Fun, Art!
Naturally, this means the hotel is full of tantalizing contemporary art and the seven guest rooms serve as a proof that interior designers are happy to cross to the art space.
The minimalist style of the rooms allows for big statement furniture pieces to wow the guests—like the bed cupped inside a rattan birdcage or a large black bathtub surrounded by a silk screen in the Happiness Suite.
Fun is another aspect of the decor: there is a suite where tiny sheep dangle beside a pillow for guests to count them when falling off to sleep. Or how about a wooden wall, that “melts”, organically flowing down to a free-standing egg bathtub.
Shanghai’s Hot spot
The hotel adds a retail environment to the mix with Swatch Art Boutique and timepiece shops branded with the prestigious Breguet, Blancpain and Omega logos (all belong to the Swatch Group).
The building is topped by a magnificent rooftop bar and the Shook! restaurant—one of Shanghai’s hot spots for al fresco dining, offering the best in South-East Asian, Japanese and Chinese food.