New Heng Shan Cinema

hengshancinema01hengshancinema04Fake art deco or Fako in Shanghai was discussed in a previous post and continues to rise. This post is about a very fine brand new example, the New Heng Shan Cinema. This movie theater never really got much attention, as the original building was a concrete stack probably from the 1950’s or 60’s (see picture right). As far as I know, there was no cinema there ealier as this part of the French Concession was pretty much the country side, and then an industrial area. The cinema was remodeled or rebuilt in 2010, giving a new fako monument to this part of Shanghai.


hengshancinema03There is a clear inspiration from Art Deco theaters as seen in the USA or in Australia for this one. The building is also inspired by the Grand Theater on People Square (designed by Laszlo Hudec), the Majestic theater as well as the now destroyed Roxy and Metropol theaters on Nanjing Xi Lu.

The very geometrical shape with long line and curve really matches the period’s style with a modern twist. Even the hallway has art deco proportions and feeling, although there is very little decoration there. The side also uses a very geometrical shape and curves to guide the eye and visitors to the main building. It is particularly impressive at night when lighten. New technology in lighting has been perfectly used to create a combination of historical and modern feeling. Old art deco cinemas in Shanghai were very crafted pieces of architecture, including exquisite decorations in the inside, doors and hallways that are not always reproduced in today’s buildings including this one. Still the architecture of this one building transports us to a trip to Old Shanghai, while keeping touch with modernity.

Although fako buildings are not always great, New Hengshan cinema is a success, one great addition to this historic area. It is located 838 Hengshan lu, near Xu Jia Hui.

6 thoughts on “New Heng Shan Cinema”

  1. Wow, this is so fascinating! It’s so sad that many real Art Deco buildlings have been destroyed and now these fako ones are being built. It kind of reminds me of how Hong Kong developers tore down many colonial buildings, but then have rebuilt some after they realized their mistake, eg, The Repulse Bay Hotel.

  2. What a fascinating article. Although so many Art Deco buildings have been lost, its wonderful that new ones in the style are being built. I had never heard the word Fako before, so you have really taught me something new!

    I have some pages on Art Deco architecture, and a page on cinemas where you can enter your own story and photo. I’d love it if you could submit your photo of the Fako cinema to my site. You can add your url and I’ll convert it to a link when I accept the submission.

    I’d be thrilled if you’d tell us a bit about Art Deco Shanghai on this page too: and people can leave you comments there too.

    Great blog. Many thanks. Lesley

  3. I happened to be there yesterday. I have to say i like the exterior quite much, although art deco suppose to be the in-middle transition from classical to contemporary, it still deliver a strong modern feeling. I particularly appreciate that they didn’t extend the site volume, or making the small plaza into a parking lot. The space in front of it actually shows a good balance of proportion and a recessed elegance of lowprofile.
    By the way, the interior really sucks!!

  4. Naco architectures realized this project. i used to be there in internship and observe how the project was growing. really interesting.

    and very interesting blog too!

  5. indeed, probably one of the best success in architecture since a long time.
    Thanks for your many papers Hughes.

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