China comes to town
Published: Sunday | June 4, 2006
-0 RUDOLPH BROWN/CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER
Chinese Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu and his wife Madam Wang Xiaoja are proud of the carpet in the formal living room, and like others throughout the residence, was made in China especially for the residence. This one was made to capture the shape of the floor and features symbols from China. The dragon is part of the motif.
Barbara Ellington, Lifestyle Editor
FOR SEVERAL weeks, residents passing the vicinity of 20 Seaview Avenue must have wondered about the diligent Chinese workmen schlepping wheelbarrows of building material behind a high wall at all hours of day and night.
They were brought to the island specially to construct the new residence of Chinese Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu and Madam Wang Xiaoju. And after just 13 months, there are two spanking new buildings to show for their toil. The first, houses the office complex and the second is the official residence of the Ambassador. Outlook went on an exclusive tour of the new residence.
There is still construction ongoing around the grounds exterior including the swimming pool, tennis court and exterior bathrooms.
The interior takes your breath away and the details show that the Chinese architect did a superb job. From intricate carved flowers on the huge doors to marble floors covered by carpets, featuring ancient Chinese symbols and specially cut to the shape of the floor, to the works of art throughout the ground floor rooms, the appeal is immediate.
Ambassador Zhenyu is proud of his collection of family and other photographs. Among these are snapshots of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Honorary Consul General to the Kingdom of Thailand Mrs. Thaila Lyn, who were two of his first dinner guests.
Others include former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and Governor-General Professor Kenneth Hall.
The ceiling in the foyer features a lotus flower that when lit casts a seductive reflection on the circular pattern of the marble floor below.
Furniture handcrafted and brought in from China is made from cherry and other native woods. The cabinets and chests are filled with treasures in jade, porcelain and other material - also handcrafted by famous artisans and with their own special stories to tell.
The second floor houses the private living quarters of the Ambassador and his family and from each room, the residents have magnificent views of the city. The views are predominantly of the city's green hills interrupted by their beautiful homes.
The new residence features deep red drapery sourced and made in Jamaica and the pièce de rèsistance is the sitting room at the top of the spiral staircase.
What is unique to the area is the thick, glass-panelled ceiling that opens at the touch of a button. As the light from outside filters through, the electric lights go out and it is here that Madam Zhenyu loves to spend her evenings.