|Amazingly Beautiful and Absolutely Hideous Pharmaceutical Factory in China|
Sixth Pharm Factory went viral on Chinese internet, showing Versailles-style furnishings and domes and hallways decorated with gold-plated woodcarving. The state-owned company was soon met with a barrage of online criticism for its extravagance and waste of public funds. However, a person in charge, while acknowledging the building as theirs, argued that those rooms are not used as offices; instead, they are exhibition rooms of a museum they have built to house woodblock prints.
Oh la la! Chinese state factory decked out to look like the Palace of Versailles (much to the disgust of neighbours)
From: Mail Online
It looks more like a view of a luxurious palace for one of the world's richest leaders - but this is actually the interior of an office building.
Even more surprising is that the block is in China, a country more known for its minimalist, functional approach.
Harbin Pharmaceutical Group appears to have modelled its factory in Harbin, in the northeast of Heilongjiang province, on the Palace of Versailles.
The state-owned drug firm has caused outrage with the lavish decoration, which includes gold-tinted walls and chandeliers.
Citizens living near the building have reacted with anger to the pictures, insisting the money should have been spent on sorting out the factory's sewage problems.
It is the latest in a series of rows to hit the company this summer.
One of its bottled water products was found to contain the carcinogenic chemical bromate in August, according to Want China Times.
And back in June, it was exposed for the illegal discharge of wastewater, waste gas and industrial waste, chinawhisper.com said.
It said at the time that the company did not have the money available to move out of the factory and solve the problem.
Of the photographs, a Harbin Pharmaceutical suggested to the website that they had been circulated as part of a 'smear campaign'.
He said the images shown were actually of the museum, which takes up three floors of the same building and is run by the company to showcase local art.
The firm's annual report for 2010 showed that it spent 19.6million yuan (£1.9m) on environmental protection but 27 times more on advertising.
Chinese state-owned pharm company’s interior design similar to Palace of Versailles
From: Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部
Li Xiaomeng, a CCTV reporter, wrote on her microblog that Harbin Sixth Pharm Factory is a state-owned enterprises and thereby enjoy a tax benefit as low as 5% of their profit granted by the state. “They say state-owned enterprises are owned by the people. People should know where the profit went. Is this palace what people like to see?”
|One room in the factory appears to be set up for a board meeting but it looks more like the inside of a 19th century palace, with lavish decoration, an ornate chandelier and heavily decorated walls.|
A Weibo user associated the photos with Harbin Sixth Pharm Factory’s pollution incident back in August, saying that “They claimed they didn’t have the ability to handle their own waste. It turns out they have spent money on luxurious interior decoration. That also explains why the drug prices always stay so high.”
In August, Harbin Sixth Pharm Factory’s parent company, the pharmaceutical group, one of China’s largest drug producers, was ordered to pay a hefty fine for gas emissions that did not meet environmental requirements.
Confronted with public uproar over its huge spending on facelift, a person in charge said, “I think the photos on the Internet is perhaps deliberately smearing our image, because the scenes presented in the photos are our woodblock print museum, and the exhibits were completely missing in the photos. They seem to create the false impression on purpose that the office environment is very luxurious.”
This person, who did not give his name, explained that the intention to build this edifice is to promote social cause in the fields of culture and art as the company has been growing and expanding over the past years. “Heilongjiang (province) is the birthplace of Beidahuang woodblock paintings. However, the genre is going downhill in recent years. To assist its development better, Harbin Sixth Pharm Factory decided to establish a woodblock print museum.” He said the main building of the factory was built in November, 2004. The bottom three levels of the six-storied building are office area whereas the top three levels are used as the museum. “The furnishing and decoration of the office area is very simple. Only the museum was designed to be more artistic.”
When the reported bombarded him with questions like “Isn’t it very inappropriate for a state-owned enterprise to build such a deluxe museum,” and “If it was for promoting social cause, why not save the money and invest it directly in talent development,” he simply replied, “Your suggestion is quite good.”
The palace-like office building is not the only controversy that surrounds the pharmaceutical company. On August 30, China’s Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine publicized a list of substandard mineral water products on its official website. Harbin Sixth Pharm Factory’s bottled water made the list for containing the carcinogenic chemical bromate.
Now we all knew the pharmaceutical business is doing good, but nevertheless, did not see this coming. What you see in the photos below are the interiors of an office building located in Harbin, northeast of China and belonging to Harbin Pharmaceutical Group. According to Daily Mail, the building consists of three levels of offices and three more floors that are dedicated to a print museum belonging to the state-owned pharmaceutical firm. The interior decorations feature gold-tinted walls and chandeliers, reminding one of the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the Xiv-th. It is no wonder that the publication of these photos in China caused outrage among the citizens that have homes next to the building and who believe the money would have been spent better in solving the factory’s sewage problems. We will let you be the judge of the facts presented in this article, as well as the aesthetic reviewer of the interiors below.
Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign.
They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.
Ah, historically significant feats of architecture! Yes, you're fine as you are, but perhaps China does it a little better. The new office building of the state-run Sixth Pharmaceutical (哈药六厂), a subsidiary of Harbin Pharmaceutical Group, is another testament to the peerless imitation skills of Chinese architects, who've shanzhai'd a Versailles-style palace laden with pools, gyms, and billiard rooms, all tinted in what we can only assume is imitation gold.
The building is causing an online outrage against the unnecessary expenditure and extravagance of a government funded company. It seems that Versailles has a special je ne sais quoi for China's nouveau riche, as air-conditioner tycoon Zhang Yue also recreated Versailles on his private estate in 2007. So, rather true to form, it looks like Sixth Pharmaceutical copied someone else's copying move. Vive l'imitation de l'opulente objets français!
By Angela Ye
(Photos via Sina News.)