Inside the Cercle Sportif Francais
The Cercle Sportif Francais on Route Cardinal Mercier (today the Okura Garden hotel) was the center of life for the cream of the French Concession. Built by the French architect firm Vesseyre & Leonard it opened in 1926 was certainly the largest design of the firm in Shanghai. In a effort to compete with Britain it was partly paid by French state money in order to project French colonial power in the city. The Cercle Sportif moved in the new building from what later became the College Municipal Francais. Construction took the best materials both for the inside and the outside. Outside architecture is of neoclassique style, somewhat similar to the one used on the Bund, however the inside was heavily influenced by Art Deco, the upcoming artistic movement of the time. Although the building has been modified to accommodate the hotel, a large part of the hotel was very well renovated. This post is focused on displaying old pictures of the interior of the Cercle Sportif Francais. Click on the picture to see an increased version.
As opposed to the current hotel entrance at the front of the building, the CFS entrance was on the side of the building, on what is now Maoming Lu (the current hotel entrance was one of the restaurants). The original entrance has been delicately renovated by the Japanese owner and comparison of the old and the new is striking for their similarities.
Although the statue is a recent addition, the rest of the room has been renovated with care so that it is very difficult to actually see what was to original and what is new. One of the patterns that can be found all over the interior of the building in a typical Art Deco fashion is the little fan shape, present here in the corners of squares on the sides of the doors.