The Oranienbaum park and palace ensemble, the one park and palace residence to have come out unscathed from the Great Patriotic War, is Russia’s only architectural ensemble in the rococo style. In the postwar period, the Chinese Palace was left unrestored and gradually fell into disrepair because conservation specialists focused their efforts on restoring major Peterhof assets that had been destroyed during the war.
In 2007–2009, the Peterhof Museum carried out research and conservation works and restored the facade of the Chinese Palace in Oranienbaum with support from Gazprom and international patrons (Wintershall Holding GmbH, BASF).
In 2009, Gazprom became a permanent partner of the Peterhof State Museum Reserve in the restoration of the Chinese Palace in Oranienbaum.
The two restored rooms of the Chinese Palace that are now open to the public are located in the eastern part of the main suite, the so-called “personal apartment of Catherine II.” Most of the interior design of the 18th century has been preserved in the Plaster Chamber (Lilac Drawing Room). Alberto Gianni, a follower of Antonio Rinaldi, created a magnificent ornament in the room, using highly complicated techniques of pasted stucco trimming. The unique appearance of the Small Chinese Study is due to the combination of silk, on which oriental floral motifs and scenes from Chinese life are painted, and contrasting geometric patterns. A rare artistic set of the 18th century can be seen in the parquet floor made of valuable woods.
Now that the Plaster Chamber and the Small Chinese Study have been opened, 12 out of the 17 interiors of the Chinese Palace are available to visitors. The completion deadline for the full range of conservation works in the Chinese Palace is 2024.
The Friends of St. Petersburg comprehensive project, which is pursued by Gazprom with the support of the Committee for State Control, Use and Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments under the St. Petersburg Administration, was launched in 2020.
The project aims to retain the best traditions of the St. Petersburg school of conservation, enabling international exchange of experience and helping address urgent issues related to the preservation and promotion of the cultural and historical heritage of St. Petersburg.
The project engages well-known conservation specialists, architects, public activists, popular urbanists, and experts in local lore, fine arts and history.
These efforts are performed within the framework of large-scale conservation projects pursued by Gazprom in St. Petersburg.
During the event held at the Peterhof State Museum Reserve under the Friends of St. Petersburg comprehensive social project of Gazprom, the participants had a chance to see not only the interiors of the Chinese Palace, but also the restoration process per se. Mikhail Botakovsky, Director General of Petrorestkom, Honorary Restorer of St. Petersburg, held a master class entitled “Restoration specifics of the Chinese Palace as illustrated by the Big Chinese Study” for Friends of St. Petersburg.