By Hart Hagerty
October 01, 2014
Henry Westheim Photography / Alamy

Shanghai is home to gorgeous ceramic shops that suit a wide variety of personal tastes. The traditionalist will be drawn to the classical Chinese patterns, colors, and shapes at Blue Shanghai White. And the minimalist will empty his or her wallet for the modern-meets-Ming masterpieces of Shang Xia. Over at Piling Palang, the bright colors and pop-art aesthetics of cloisonné will pep up any home. While varying in style, the very best of Shanghai ceramics share something in common: they were likely crafted in Jingdezhen. Known as China’s “Porcelain Capital,” the small city south of Shanghai has been producing quality pottery for nearly two millennia. According to experts, pieces made in Jingdezhen are "as thin as paper, as white as jade, as bright as a mirror, and as sound as a bell.” Worried about packing your fragile Jingdezhen gems in your suitcase? Don’t fret. Most of these shops are experts at helping customers ship purchases safely home without a crack. 

Spin

Spin is Shanghai’s leading ceramic store for design aficionados. It occupies a very large two-story industrial space in Jing’An district with high ceilings and polished concrete floors. The minimalist interior echoes Spin’s deceptively simple designs, which blend China’s millennia-old mastering of ceramics with a modern aesthetic. From chopsticks holders to stunning tea sets, everything is designed in-house and crafted by hand in Jingdezhen. Because every piece is so original and fairly priced, it’s hard to walk out of here empty-handed.

Piling Palang

Piling Palang sells modern Chinese ceramics and stunning cloisonné with glamorous-yet-playful twists. Designer Deng Bing Bing subtly infuses elements of Chinese art and culture into his vibrant, heirloom quality creations ranging from large vases to jewelry boxes. The bold brand has a few boutiques around town, including one on the lovely, leafy stretch of Anfu Road with salons, chic stores, and quaint cafes.

Blue Shanghai White

This artsy boutique on Fuzhou Road near the Bund is as classic as it gets. Blue Shanghai White was founded seven years ago by Hai Chen, one of China's foremost contemporary ceramicists.  While remaining loyal to the tried-and-true blue and white tradition, the artist does like to inject a subtle twist of modernity into her creations.

Shang Xia

With only three stores in the world, Shang Xia’s flagship boutique is a must-see for anyone interested in modern Chinese design. The Hermes-backed lifestyle brand aims to usher dying Chinese crafts into the 21st century by employing artisans to create updated versions of Middle Kingdom design icons. By putting contemporary spins on traditionally crafted Chinese furniture, fashion, and homeware—including ceramics—Shang Xia is positioning itself to be the paragon of the elegant, modern Chinese aesthetic.

The Pottery Workshop

Launched in 2002, The Pottery Workshop is best known as an international educational center for ceramic students of all levels. Its gallery and boutique on fashionable Fumin Road displays some of its best students’ masterpieces alongside functional pieces by over 20 renowned ceramists from China and beyond. Prices range from inexpensive bowls and cups to one of-a-kind sculptures topping RMB 150,000. 

Advertisement