Fake 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.
There 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.