Kartel — Shanghai, China
With a still intact trove of stately Art Deco mansions and tree-shaded boulevards, Shanghai’s old French Concession quarter remains a magnet for enterprising, style-conscious restaurateurs and wine merchants looking for a more intimate setting to the city’s bristling skyscrapers. The latest addition to the neighbourhood is Kartel. Locally-based French designers Thomas Dariel and Benoit Arfeuillère gutted the interiors of the fin-de-siecle manse and turned it into a louche three-storey wine lounge. The space is a dramatic mix of exposed concrete walls, raw textured pillars, mirrored walls, custom-made furniture (including bathtubs reshaped into sofas and chrome plated armchairs) and bold slashes of colour. The fusion of past and present elements is at its most expressive in the timber-decked rooftop terrace which has incredible views of the French Concession’s nostalgic roofline, framed by the distant towers of downtown Shanghai.