Visit to China

by Erika Woelfel

It had been a few years since my last visit to China, and it was easy to see how much had changed: More buildings, more cars, more places to see and things to do. On this whirlwind visit I had a chance to visit Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. Each location has its own brand of urban living, all of them unique and thrilling!

2016 Behr colors

Before launching into the travelogue, I would like to thank the Behr team in China as well as Judy, my colleague and interpreter, for having me along on this special trip to promote Behr’s 2016 color trends. It was also my pleasure to make so many new friends along the way (thanks to weixin), and even run into some old friends too!

Where to begin? Shanghai was buzzing with activity, even in the heat of summer. Nights were lit up with an array of colors everywhere you looked! Shopping is a huge pass time. Huge malls and department stores sell designer names from around the globe. I was particularly interested in looking up the Chinese fashion brands that we do not yet see anywhere else. If you can imagine it, you can find it: Clothes, shoes, cosmetics, handbags and electronic accessories all from China in a gorgeous array of colors and designs.

Lights of Shanghai

My favorite place in Shanghai is in the former French Concession, a large residential neighborhood in the Huangpu and Xuhui Districts. Elegant homes with stucco siding and tile roofs gave the area a European flair. Large plane trees completely shaded streets and sidewalks filled with pedestrians shopping or dining in local cafes. The whole area had a very international flavor mixing styles, scents and flavors of the east and west from recent and historic times. The Oyama sushi bar served up some of the most spectacular dishes I had ever seen!


Luxury apartment Shanghai

We visited a high end apartment development in the suburbs of Shanghai created in a stylish blend of modern and traditional furnishings.

Another area not to be missed in Shanghai: Tian Zi Fang. This is a smaller and quieter entertainment area, tucked away in a historic neighborhood on Taiking Road. It was renovated in 2006 and contains more than 200 tiny shops, studios, bars, cafes and restaurants are tucked away down narrow passages, and you never know what will be around the next turn. I was surrounded by color in a silk shop!

Tian Zi Fang silk shop

I was very impressed with the giant new train station in Beijing. It was modern and open, with enough retail  to make you believe you were not actually in a train station! From this point of departure we took the high speed train to Tianjin, a city about 1/2 hour away.

Tianjin China

Tianjin is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen in China. Located in northern China, it is one of the top 5 cities in terms of urban population. The downtown is built along the Hai River and is a mix of old and new buildings. An evening stroll along the river banks offered an expansive view of wide open spaces around the historic Russian Concession building. The Grand Bridge was also nearby, as were buskers and street cafes that lent a very festive feel to the entire moment.

Tianjin Indigo HotelThe Tianjin Indigo Hotel is an artsy, historic hotel located in downtown Tianjin – the decor was lovely and sometimes whimsical as seen in the photographs on the ceiling panels in the lobby!

Tianjin Indigo Hotel

As seen in fashion and decor, the colors I took away from China this time are a blend of bright accents, quiet neutrals and soft pastels:

China colors

Colorfully yours,


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