Worlds Collide in Shanghai


The largest city in the world, Shanghai, has long been the point where East meets West, where old meets new.

Shanghai’s fabulous skyline, dominated by shimmering towers of crazy shapes, seems almost mandated to be as such. The government probably penalizes architects for using vertical and horizontal lines. Even seemingly normal buildings have a touch of madness. But look closer, and you’ll see the old, butting heads with the new. The Shanghai of the past tenaciously holding on, providing a rustic frame for the electric neon modern landscape. By the way, I learned to write from vintage Banana Republic catalogs, apparently.

Old vs New Shanghai

At ground level, barely perceptible from a distance, Shanghai’s old tenements provide a glimpse into the past. Amid the skyscrapers of chrome, glass and steel, I found this awesome dwelling, pieced together as if by human birds building a nest. Just out of frame was an old man crapping on a statue.

Shanghai Tenement

As I walked through the city’s neighborhoods, I found an old, brick firehouse with a new, shiny firetruck at the ready. Yes, racists, this is an actual Chinese fire drill.

Chinese Fire Drill

And even at the shows I did in Shanghai, at the URBN Hotel, worlds continued to collide. The green hotel is a modern building made with recycled materials. In the lobby, where clerks checked guests in with state of the art iMac computers, sat a collection of technology from the past.

Past Tech

Amazingly, all of the things on the pictured shelves have been replaced by a single device, your iPhone.

Much love for all the Shanghai peeps that came to the sold-out shows. Our worlds collided gloriously!

Paul Ogata Sold Out Show In Shanghai

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