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Shanghai Oriental Art Center is designed by the French architect Paul Andreu, who is best known for having designed numerous airports worldwide, notably Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
Viewed from above, the center looks like five blossoming petals, which constitute the Entrance Hall, Oriental Performance Hall, Oriental Concert Hall, Exhibition Hall and Oriental Opera Hall, forming a beautiful butterfly orchid in full bloom. From its formal opening on July 1, 2005 till now, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, German Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra and many other outstanding artists have performed there.
The inner decoration demonstrates Andreu's design concept: a return to nature. Stepping into the center, you feel as if you are in a thick forest. The black granite ground stands for the earth.
Porcelain accessories of various shades of brown on the wall seem to be the bark of trees, while the steel girders in the vast cloister, stretching into the sky, symbolize the trees extending their branches. Transparent round lights hanging high and low in the sky are like dew on leaves.
Appreciating music in such a natural environment is a great pleasure. The three performing halls of the center — Oriental Performance Hall, Oriental Concert Hall and Oriental Opera Hall — are all adapted to suit different kinds of performances.
The Oriental Performance Hall, which is designed after Roman theatres, is ideal for soloists, chamber concerts and mini drama. The auditorium, with a seating capacity of 333, is semi-circular around the stage, giving every audience member a perfect view.
In the Oriental Concert Hall, the center stage is surrounded by an auditorium of 1,953 seats. Baffle boards around the hall help produce the best sound and visual effects for audience.
The Oriental Opera Hall is divided into three areas by side arc lines, which brings the audience the atmosphere of Italian opera halls. The auditorium is separated into two layers with the total capacity of 1,015 seats. The theater is fitted with the most advanced sound and lighting system.