SHANGHAI VILLA: Prada has restored Shanghai’s 1918 mansion Rong Zhai and will unveil it on Oct. 12 with a fashion show of the brand’s 2018 Resort collection, which was presented in Milan in May. Prada’s goal is to turn the historic villa into a flexible site for cultural activities.
Originally designed for the family of tycoon Yung Tsoong-King (1873 to 1938), known in his day as the Flour King of China, Rong Zhai is one of Shanghai’s finest Western-style garden villas. Western architects and Chinese scholars and artisans have collaborated on the restoration. An opening cocktail reception will be held on Oct. 14, during Shanghai Fashion Week, as well as other activities, still to be revealed. Prada Rong Zhai will be open to the public beginning Oct. 17 for about one month.
Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive officer of the Milan-based group, began the restoration of the villa in 2011, reflecting their admiration for China’s aesthetic heritage. The couple are not new to such initiatives of preservation. They have supported the restoration of Milan’s 19th-century luxury shopping arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina, an opulent Baroque palace on the Grand Canal in Venice reconfigured as an art space for Fondazione Prada.
Prada and Bertelli also restored a complex comprising seven existing buildings recovered from a distillery dating back to 1916 and created three structures, all located in Largo Isarco, in the southern part of Milan, to house the new Fondazione Prada headquarters, covering 205,000 square feet. The project was developed by OMA, led by Prada’s longtime architect, Rem Koolhaas. The location was unveiled in 2015.