Typing the phrase “Little Europe on the Outskirts of Shanghai” on your Google search box should generate results of a stunning picture that features European buildings in a seemingly small European town. This is what the person who photographed the picture, Pablo Conejo, would probably expect you to see and think, given that you do not pay attention to the title of the photograph. However, it might come as a surprise to you that this place is actually situated in Shanghai.
Spanish photographer Pablo Conejo travelled to China armed with the mission of documenting the development of the country of contradictions amidst the global trends. In fact, he has already come up with a written game plan of the concepts that he intends to make as his inspiration. However, once he got to Shanghai, he found himself in a rather peculiar area upon reaching the borders of Shanghai.
Pablo Cornejo found himself in an ostensibly urban landscape that was very much different from what he expected to find and experience in China which, as he described was a “tangle of motorcycles, cars, people and noise; a mix of intense food smell from stalls and kitchens, car fumes and a murmur from all this bustle; all this jumble peppered with red lanterns and fortune cats.” He was standing on an urban project that was composed of nine suburban neighborhoods that were patterned on the architectural styles of various European countries. Dubbed as the “One City, Nine Towns”, this project was launched in 2004 with the goal of relieving the overpopulation in Shanghai. This was projected to house one million people by the year 2020.
Upon the taking of the famous photograph, Pablo Conejo stated that “At the moment all the towns look like ghost cities.” Further, he also added that “the empty streets make them look like Disney World or a cinema set. As a matter of fact, Thames Town, the English imitation, is becoming a very popular location to have one’s wedding photography made.”
Known by the locals as the “Little Europe”, this quiet pedestrian complex is nestled right on Wukang Road near the Tai’an Road. This idea was a product of the gathered ideas of a team of structural engineers and international architects who though of creating that spot in Shanghai that features Art Deco design elements.
Ferguson Lane is made up of loft-style trendy offices, ornamental art galleries, fancy cafes, and artsy shops. It is actually comparable to that of Xintiandi or Taikang Road, but this area is smaller and quieter as it is not flocked with tourists.
Rudolf Li, the manager of business development department of Cornes World Company Limited, the company that has the ownership rights of the area around Ferguson Lane, has said that they are very particular with choosing the tenants that will soon reside in the development. They wish to maintain the relaxing and laid-back ambience of the area even when it people start living it in.
The concept aims to show that with the hustle and bustle of the city of Shanghai, there is still an area where people can find the peace and tranquility away from the city’s rat-race.
Amy C. is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about the hidden treasures of cities and countries all around the world. When she is not discovering new places and attractions, she works on the office administration and blogging activities of DMac Industries, a b deck and steel deck fabrication company. Stay tuned to know which place she will uncover next.