News - 15 December 2021

UNStudio Completes the Largest Retail Complex in North Shanghai

Our design of the Shanghai Jiuguang Center, in collaboration with Nihon Sekkei, has been completed.

This brand new retail destination, which sits in the middle of a bustling Shanghai neighbourhood, reflects a symbiotic relationship between commercial aspirations and architectural interventions. Nihon Sekkei were asked to develop the outer shell of the retail centre, while we were tasked with fleshing out the mall as a placemaking destination for customers and the larger community. This included the design of the inner courtyard and its facades, the full interior of the mall and a public rooftop terrace.

With the goal of creating curated shopping experiences for different users, we designed a building that strikes a balance between architectural and interior design, building scale and human scale, geometry and materials and inside-outside relationship.

This symbiosis culminates in a central courtyard and three interior voids that frame its perimeter. The courtyard, with its sunken area with integrated seating, planting and lighting, not only serves as an event space for the mall itself, but also provides a destination for the wider community. It also is a point of connection between the lower and upper levels of the building by way of a generous staircase and escalators.

Each of the interior voids have their own distinct identity and materialisation, based on three different themes. The voids vertically link the shopping experience and help to orientate users within the expansive retail areas.

The ‘urban playground’ uses a bright, colorful material scheme to reflect the bustle of the city outside. The materialisation of ‘urban oasis’ aims to re-connect users with nature, using warm colour tones and brass articulations, while the ‘urban catwalk’ captures a nightly atmosphere that is reflected in the dark, glossy materials.

Shopping malls are the public spaces of Chinese cities. These retail complexes are not simply places to shop, they are all-in-one destinations for outings and social gatherings. They are also places where culture and commerce merge and where architecture can express this expansive condition.
Ben van Berkel

Explore the project here.