Friday, 27 February 2009

‘The Opposite House’ Showcases Contemporary Chinese Art

Young contemporary Chinese artists are finding a vibrant platform for their art at The Opposite House, a luxurious, contemporary hotel by Swire Hotels.

Innovative Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who styled the hotel with a striking emerald glass facade, specifically designed the minimalist interiors with abundant natural light to house the art pieces and welcome the neighborhood.

The fascinating collection of modern art by Chinese artists from China, Hong Kong, Australia and the UK is themed after clothing and fashion, reflecting The Opposite House’s location in Beijing’s vibrant Sanlitun district, an integral part of The Village at Sanlitun, Beijing’s premier open-plan shopping destination, developed by Swire Properties.

The collection features artistic clothing creations in various mediums, from porcelain and grass to terracotta and PVC.

“Our goal from the start has been to create different and surprising experiences that challenge the norm and complement the lives of our guests and passersby, while meeting our social responsibility to emphasize Chinese culture,” said Anthony Ross, General Manager of The Opposite House. “Supporting and showcasing contemporary Chinese artists is part of our vision.”

Most artwork is in public areas such as the Living Room, Mesh and Village Café, with exclusive pieces also exhibited in the Penthouse and suites.

Li Xiao Feng’s porcelain “Beijing Memory No. 1” and “Beijing Memory No. 2” in the Living Room, might easily be mistaken for traditional Chinese dresses, or qi-paos.

This is a deliberate ploy by the Hubei artist, whose playful, life size “wearable art” is made from shattered antique blue and white Ming and Qing dynasty porcelain found in a construction site by his friend. Thinking it was such a pity to just discard them, he decided to sew them into clothing instead.

Wang Jin, a famously controversial artist from Shanxi, continues the fashion theme in the Atrium with “Dream of China”, an ancient Emperor-style ‘Dragon Robe’ made out of PVC plastic, beautifully embroidered with coloured fishing wire and suspended midair against a dark chocolate background.

An artist of startling creativity, developing many ideas at any one time, Wang produced some of the most poignant Chinese art of the early 1990s. His emperor robe in PVC reflects his view that plastic perfectly represents contemporary society, and it is a consumer product omnipresent in developing countries that he calls “high tech rubbish.”

Beijing artist Chen Qing Qing’s “Gown No. 1” is a kimono made of grass and pearls, measuring about 2 metres long, is on display in the Atrium.

Continuing with the clothing theme, Hong Kong artist Fiona Wong’ defies the limits of her small kiln in Hong Kong with “White Wings” and “Black Flower.” Constructed of white and chocolate-coloured terracotta pieces respectively, they are “sewn” together with copper wire. The armour may look as if they belong on a battlefield, but their open-arms gesture actually implies the embracing of peace and harmony.

As the location of the hotel has influenced the clothing theme in the collection, individual pieces and their proximity to one another also presents a subtle commentary on modern society.

Ten oversized white “Feathers” by traditional paper cutting artist, Pamela See, are suspended in mid air. Within a few feet of “Feathers” is Kum Chi Keung’s acrylic and wood birdcage “Intrusion”, symbolizing the compact living spaces of modernity. “I love the dialogue that goes on between these two pieces,” says art consult Alison Pickett. “The desire to fly away and realize ones freedom and creativity juxtaposed against the transparent confines of everyday city living.”

Other items in the collection include “Reproduction of Happiness” by Mok Yat San – orange colour and clear resin bottles – found in the lounge bar Mesh and “Forbidden City, Beijing” - a photography by Zhou Jun on display in the Penthouse of The Opposite House.

The Opposite House provides a new luxury experience for travellers who seek individuality, style and personalized service. It appeals to those who appreciate interesting design and who like the personalities of the staff they are served by to shine through.

The hotel’s 99 guest studios, including 10 spacious suites, are amongst the largest in Beijing. More than half of all the studios are over 70 sqm and all are strikingly simple with natural wooden floors and subtle touches of Chinese décor.

The Opposite House has become a hot new dining destination in Beijing with a wealth of culinary talent and innovative design by top restaurant designers Neri and Hu.

Bookings can be made directly by phone at +8610 6417 6688 or via the hotel’s website at, where high res images are also available for download.

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