Prada opened to the public Prada Rong Zhai, its historic mansion in central Shanghai, after years of renovations


BY OBI ANYANWU

Prada is expanding its presence in China with the opening of Prada Rong Zhai in central Shanghai.

The Milan-based global fashion brand has opened the historic mansion to the public after five-plus years of renovations. Prada partnered with architect Roberto Baciocchi to restore the early twentieth-century mansion that serves as a site for the brand’s activities in China.

“Rong Zhai has a deep connection with my family,” said Chairman H.C. Yung. “My father, Mr. Rong Zongjing, first bought this place in 1918 after he made a successful career; he sought this place to facilitate his business management and to live with the family. After nearly 100 years, the residence was reduced from a magnificent house to an obsolete building.”

Prada Rong Zhai is one of several restoration projects that the Milanese fashion house has spearheaded. The brand renovated sections of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the nineteenth-century shopping arcade in Milan, and baroque-era palace palazzo Ca’ Corner della Regina on the Grand Canal in Venice, which has been reconfigured as an art space.

Baciocchi and a team of Italian and Chinese craftsmen repaired damages to the mansion and restored the building’s interior and exterior structural elements, including plasterwork, wooden paneling, stained glass and decorative tile. In addition, the team modeled some fabrication and installation techniques after traditional methods and materials used by the craftsmen who originally built Rong Zhai.

Yung added, “This renovation has been carried out in a very careful way — even the walls and stained glass were given special care to regain their original appearance. Upon completion, this residence was endowed with a brand new look, which is full of vitality and liveliness. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Prada Group for bringing back the charm and grandeur to the residence.”

Prada Rong Zhai is currently hosting an exhibit of the brand’s restorations of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Ca’ Corner della Regina in Venice, and Epicenters in New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo until November 12, 2017.