The historic 1918 residence of Prada Rong Zhai, located in the heart of Shanghai, was inaugurated on October 12, 2017. The building is a flexible space dedicated to various cultural activities organized by the Prada Group in China.
Demonstrating Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli’s respect and admiration for Chinese cultural heritage, in 2011 Prada has initiated the restoration project of the residence, which lasted 6 years and required the utmost care for details, superb craftsmanship and respect for architectural essence.
The operation combines and summarizes the capabilities developed by Prada in the requalification of historic buildings around the world, including the restorations of parts of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and Ca’ Corner della Regina, the magnificent baroque palace overlooking Venice Grand Canal converted into a space dedicated to art.
RONG ZHAI - OPENING EVENT
The result is an international cultural synthesis: a dialogue between Milan and Shanghai that pays tribute to the family who has originally commissioned this historic residence, to the Chinese architects and artists that created it and the team of Chinese and Italian craftsmen who were able to bring back its rightful splendor.
Declared cultural heritage of the Jing’an district in 2004 and included in the list of Shanghai’s most relevant historic buildings, Prada Rong Zhai was presented for the first time through a calendar of events taking place between October 12 and 17, which included the Prada Resort 2018 Show and an exhibition illustrating the restoration process of the villa as well as the previous architectural explorations of the brand.
“My family shares a deep bond with Rong Zhai. My father, Rong Zongjing, purchased the villa in 1918 at the end of a brilliant career, while searching for a place to better manage its companies and live with his family. After almost one century, what once was a magnificent residence had become an outdated building.
This renovation has been carried out very carefully, paying special attention to plasters and lead glass windows, bringing them back to their original splendor. The residence has now a completely new vital and lively appearance.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Prada Group for restoring the charm and magnificence of the residence. An accurate planning will allow the villa to become a benchmark for fashion in Shanghai and it will welcome élite and celebrities from all over the world. If he was still alive, my father would have been extremely happy.”
H.C. Yung, youngest son of Yung Tsoong-King
“Architecture has always been a source of inspiration for Prada. The analysis of practical, commercial and historic implications of buildings has always had a crucial role in the development of Prada's activity, through a profound commitment to contemporary architectural experimentation projects and rigorous historic preservation.
Notably, China — the country and how Europeans perceive it — has always been part of the brand’s imagery. Through the expansion of the various cultural activities of the company and the Fondazione Prada, we have sought opportunities to expand our explorations in architecture and other artistic fields in China. This was the principle that led us to Rong Zhai, the historic residence capable to properly embody our ongoing commitment to Chinese culture and Sino-European dialogue”.
Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli