Fresh Destination: Shanghai | Adrian Lai of W+K Shanghai

By - December 1st, 2010

Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Emily Chang

There is much to be said about the city of Shanghai. In fact, there is so much to be said that it seems dauntingly impossible to summarize one of the most dynamic cities in the world into a single post. How would it be possible to describe a city that once served as a gateway to Western Oriental imagination, a city that is a playground for foreigners in the 1920s, and later, a favorite city of trade in the 1980s, which had since then burgeoned into one of the key economy centers of the world, and a leading one for Asia at that.

Today, amidst a mist of nostalgia that weaves through the city, evocative of the city’s decadent and notorious past in the provocative smoke rings of opium, of sexuality, new found freedom and luxury, the city is a collage of the past and the present, stamped with European-style cityscapes– remnants of the early 20th century– and fresh sci-fi skyline of Pudong, erected with a proud outlook and hope for the future.

Nestled in the ambivalence and juxtaposition of the old and new, between massive malls and modern architecture and temples and classical Chinese gardens; hidden between the enveloping lights of luxury fashion houses like Louis Vuitton and Chanel, and the aged Chinese street markets, there is only one thing to be said about Shanghai– that the city’s special blend of old world and contemporary charm, lit by candles and neon lights alike, is something to be experienced instead of read.

So, for the new and second installment of Fresh Destination, we have trooped around the world from London, and now landing in Shanghai, with our friend Adrian Lai from Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai, who will be taking us on a tour through a city that is as much business as it is pleasure.

Before that, let’s get to know our tour guide a little better:

Adrian Lai heads up digital production at Weiden+Kennedy Shanghai, and he oversees work for clients such as Nike, Converse and Nokia. Lai is quite a globetrotter, having lived in cities such as New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, and now, Shanghai. Aside from discovering new digital fortresses and dimensions for his clients, Lai takes the same thrill of discovery into his travels, and when he is not at W+K, he is also a DJ, a photographer, and a ping pong aficionado. Be sure to also download the W+K Shanghai Guidebook app.


wow, a lot of awesome finds. Great piece


whoa! so cool! great pics!