Mixed-style heritage buildings are rising across Asia and finding a new lease of life as galleries, restaurants and event venues.
Steeped in tradition and rich architecture, timeless heritage venues are the canvas for iconic events that tell the deeper story of longstanding corporate values and milestones.
It's a rising trend in Asia, where many historical landmarks are being restored as part of urban renewal projects and finding a new lease of life as art galleries, restaurants, hotels and event venues.
Case in point: In Shanghai, one of the most fascinating landmarks set to begin its new life as a luxury event venue is Cha House. The mixed-style architectural masterpiece has been carefully restored as a unique three-storey East-meets-West event venue that elegantly combines contrasting architectural styles and influences, such as blending Chinese motifs of lotus flowers and pearls with Spanish spiral railings.
Crafting events with illustrious legacy
The century-old Cha House is one Shanghai's most notable landmarks that capture the city's roots and history.
With heritage venues, it is easy to create a focal point for events with a unique piece of a city's history, architecture or culture, which help capture the authenticity and roots of a destination.
Think luxury events and exhibitions, which have used heritage venues as unique showpieces to amplify particular themes and ideas. These landmarks lend events their sense of gravitas and help to bind your event's central message and mood in a way that will stick in the minds of guests.
Landmarks like the century-old Cha House, for example, stands as a remarkable testament of history and resilience. It is the only surviving structure of what was originally a pair of luxury mansions in 1920, which once stood among Shanghai's largest cluster of traditional Shikumen structures. By a twist of fate, the mansions became the campus of a middle school in 1940.
Now a century on, Cha House continues to bear the torch as one of Shanghai's most distinguished heritage icons in its current central location in the trendy Jing'an district, home to a diverse range of retail and entertainment offerings.
The baroque-style venue is annexed to contemporary lifestyle design hotel, The Sukhothai Shanghai, which offers 201 rooms and suites in the heart of the vibrant HKRI Taikoo Hui complex and is highly accessible by three different metro train lines.
Heritage buildings like Cha House have undergone restoration that has added bright, airy interiors and comforts.
While cities are breathing new life into old city areas and preserving heritage buildings, event planners will be glad to know that it's not just the façade that gets a facelift. Most restoration projects come with an internal upgrade to equip venues that can rival any contemporary event venue.
Cha House, for instance, has been fitted with all the comforts during its restoration, transforming its interiors into bright, airy spaces for events that are easily accessible via an elevator and stairs.
With renovations for the first and second levels completed in February, the standalone venue has been the choice host for several exclusive events from luxury fashion product launches to month-long exhibitions. Whether the agenda is for showstopping gala receptions or intimate networking cocktails, the venue enables planners to make the events experience a memorable one. By the end of this year, the venue's renovations will be complete when works on the venue's third floor are concluded.
Events with distinction
Standalone venues are ideal for planners looking to create a VIP experience for guests.
Exclusivity and privacy are key considerations for planners who are sourcing for venues for luxury events. A standalone venue with its own entrance and facilities is ideal for planners who want to be able to tailor every aspect of the event from the arrival to the actual event and even when guests depart.
The three-storey Cha House, for example, has a stately entrance to welcome guests and a thoughtful layout that allows the floor to be divided into different areas.
Make VIP guests feel special by arranging for a private set up at a private room or verandah that's tucked away from the crowd.
Each spanning 437sqm, the building's first and second floors offer a squarish main hall area that can be set up with round tables of 10 for up to 80 guests and a cozy verandah and private room, which can be used as VIP-only areas or breakout zones. In all, planners have the space to host up to 250 standing guests each floor.
East meets West heritage
Heritage venues give planners the chance to incorporate an experiential tour of the venue's unique design and history.
Regality, legacy and history are some of the descriptors that best capture the type of venues that planners of luxury events seek in order to impress their clientele and audience.
Cha House, for one, is a living historical example that exudes old-world glamour and sophistication.
Another benefit: it is also the perfect showpiece to spark conversations among event attendees. Rising three storeys on the east and west, the baroque-style building has been painstaking kept in its original condition, from its exterior façade of plain red-brick walls and concrete to its interior walls, columns, timber beams and roof trusses.
Planners can even consider incorporating an experiential tour of the venue's unique design elements, such as its intricate Spanish spiral railings and carvings in the shape of lotus flowers and pearls and exquisite wood decorations.
This experiential touch will go a long way in setting your event apart, guaranteeing that guests will continue to talk about your event long after it has ended.
This article is brought to you by The Sukhothai Shanghai.
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