Client: Swire Hotels
Location: Shanghai, China
Completion date: 2018
Lissoni & Partners
Curated art collection for Shanghai luxury boutique hotel. Centuries ago, China was one of the world’s artistic superpowers, renowned for exquisite, artisanal wares. When Europeans first saw Chinese porcelain it seemed too fine, translucent and superior to anything they could make, that they concluded it must have been made with magic and called it “white gold”. They couldn’t fathom how it was made, but they knew where it came from: the ancient town of Changnan, in Jiangxi province, a few hours journey inland from Shanghai. Changnan porcelain was so in demand it is believed that early traders took to calling the whole country by this town’s name, mangled over time by foreign tongues, the word ‘Changnan’ eventually transformed into the word ‘China’. 2000 years later, this town, now called Jingdezhen, is still one of the world’s most important centres for pottery production, utilising techniques and skills handed down and refined over hundreds of generations.
“I Dream Of China” is a play on this word, and the curatorial narrative for the artwork collection. The artworks have a universal connecting theme of ceramic or porcelain, either in actual materials, or artworks representing forms of vessels or vases that would traditionally be made out of ceramic China.
Artworks curated and inspired by the bright lights and romance of Shanghai. A reflection of a thoroughly modern yet steeped in tradition. This Art Collection is intended to represent the best international artists that are inspired by or from porcelain and ceramics, whilst featuring and focusing on Hong Kong and Chinese artists. A sculpture and artwork collection that is curated for an urban escape. Diverse in medium, this collection is defined by the eventual end user; the hotel guests and their families, as well as local residents. The sculptures and artworks define each location as an individual destination within the whole. Alongside the curatorial narrative the artists are also united by the influence and inspired by the philosophy of scholar poet Lao Zi’s “the space between the land and the sky” where their art can live and breathe in an earthly oasis of art and living. Literally placed in a tower between the land and the sky. This collection is purposefully intended to be varied and at the same time united within its narrative. As distinct in identity as the residents who make this hotel their temporary residence. As divergent as only a private personal collection can be. Curated to uplift the soul, to sooth away the cares and stresses from urban city life.
Every artwork was site specific commissioned and bespoke, working directly with artists to create original and unique artworks specifically for the Middle House and Swire Hotels art collections.