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27 May 2010

The OMEGA Boutique at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel

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When the OMEGA Boutique at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel opens on the 26th of May, its visitors will be welcomed to a historic architectural gem which has been a landmark address in Shanghai for more than a hundred years.

An historic hotel; an innovative operating concept


The Palace Hotel opened its doors for business in 1908 and it immediately became one of the major attractions on the Bund, the fabled street in Shanghai characterized by its distinctive four- to six-storey western-style buildings constructed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The hotel hosted high-profile events and welcomed guests who would play a significant role in Chinese and international history.

Now, more than a century later, it has reopened as the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. The building at the corner of the Bund and Nanjing Road, which enjoys protected status as a cultural monument, has been renovated by experts in historic preservation who were particularly mindful of the building’s heritage and its status as one of Shanghai’s most significant and well-known landmarks. Also worth noting: Nanjing Road and the Champs Elysees in Paris recently became partner streets, acknowledging the similarly prominent role each plays in its home city.

The Swatch Art Peace Hotel has a unique operating concept: it combines a retail area with a hotel where invited artists live and work.  OMEGA and three of its Swatch Group partners – Breguet, Blancpain and Swatch – have boutiques on the hotel’s ground floor.


The Boutique: a unique OMEGA experience


The OMEGA Boutique at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel has been designed to respect the heritage of the cultural landmark, to highlight the distinctive architectural features of a building steeped in history and to present the brand's full product range in an environment which perfectly bridges the hotel's storied past and its promising future.

While the Swatch Art Peace Hotel OMEGA Boutique has some of the design elements shared by all of the brand’s flagship stores, it is absolutely unique in that it was necessary to preserve the existing interior architecture and the original art deco fittings. Because of the building’s protected status, no modifications could be made which would compromise its structural integrity.

The ornately carved art deco ceiling and the impressive support pillars in the boutique are exquisitely trimmed in gold with an attention to detail which recalls the days when Shanghai was first earned its accolade “the Pearl of the Orient”.

Visitors to the OMEGA Boutique at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel will recognize certain furnishings which are part of the brand’s global flagship concept, including the free-standing display cases and the champagne glass along its back walls. The furniture is also the same as that used in the brand’s network of boutiques around the world.

As nothing – including lighting fixtures – could be hung from the ceiling in the 141 square metre retail space, specially-designed tapered ribbed profile elements have been placed at locations throughout the boutique. These are equipped with all the necessary electrical wiring and subtle LED lighting which allow the room’s historical fittings to be preserved but which also allow OMEGA to display its products in a warm, welcoming environment.
The OMEGA Boutique at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel offers the entire spectrum of the brand’s watches along with products from the Fine Leather and Fine Jewellery collections. All of these are presented in one of Shanghai’s most extraordinary buildings whose specially trained staff members are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to share a special OMEGA experience.

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