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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Xintiandi Installation in Shanghai, China by UNStudio

April 18th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: UNStudio

As part of the‘RIBA Shanghai Windows Project 2014’ UNStudio was invited by China Xintiandi to create a gateway installation for the XintiandiStyle Retail Mall in Shanghai.

Located along Madang Road and framing the entrance to the mall, the project conceptually explores the role of display in Shanghai: the symbiotic relationship of cultural reflections that occur between the city’s occupants and the urban landscape.

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

  • Architects: UNStudio
  • Project: Xintiandi Installation
  • Location: Shanghai, China
  • Photography: Seth Powers
  • Client: China Xintiandi
  • Programme: Temporary Installation
  • Status: Realised March 2014
  • UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Hannes Pfau with Garett Hwang, Gil Greis, and Maya Alam
  • Advisors: ARUP Shanghai – Structure
  • Consultants: ARUP Shanghai Structure, China Majesty Structure Design Co
  • Contractors: LANDZ Group 
  • Design Year: 2013-2014
  • Construction Year: 2014
  • Completion Date: March 25, 2014
  • Opening: March 26, 2014

Building Information

  • Site Dimensions: 30m long by 3m wide
  • Building Height: 2.7m high

Exterior Materials 

  • Substructure: Steel framing
  • Envelope: inside surface: mirror stainless steel; outside surface: painted aluminum alloy

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Ben van Berkel: “The installation is related to the culture of consuming, not with respect only to shopping, but to consuming images: images of our surroundings, of our city, of the buildings and the people around us and, of course, of ourselves.”

As an extended 30 meter long corridor archway that frames the entrance to Xintiandi Style Retail Mall, the project uses a single architectural gesture that transitions from wall to ceiling to wall, not only tracing pedestrians’ movements along its trajectory, but translating them into a reflection that revolves and inverts around the visitors as they walk through the installation.

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Ben van Berkel: “We wanted to ‘dress up’ the public space as it were and to capture the public in this environment, almost in a kaleidoscopic catwalk – a place where you can see and be seen, but in surprising ways and within new perspectives of your surroundings.”

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

The pedestrians’ reflections move between a sequence of three ‘phases’ of context: retail, ground, and urban landscape. The large scale mirrors mounted at each end of the installation act as concentration points, capturing the whole lapse of the effect, and combining it into one moving image. The result is a reinterpretation of the relationship between urban context and the viewer, binding these together in a cultural setting of the retail, the city, and its inhabitants.

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Image Courtesy © Seth Powers

Image Courtesy © UNStudio

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Category: Installation

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