Located at Shanghai Plaza 66 – one of the largest and most popular shopping malls in Shanghai – the new Bulgari Shanghai flagship store features a green, jade-like façade made from brass and recycled champagne, beer, and other glass bottles.
Inspired by a medley of influences, from the original Bulgari store in Rome to Shanghai’s unique Art Deco architecture, the project is innovative and sustainable, yet remains true to the heritage of both Bulgari and Shanghai.
Bulgari Shanghai is the third flagship store façade in MVRDV’s ongoing partnership with the luxury Italian jewelry brand. Like the previous designs, the Shanghai project makes use of a visual motif inspired by the portals and cornices of Bulgari’s first original boutique on Rome’s Via dei Condotti, adopting the recognisable visual identity that now distinguishes their stores worldwide.
However, in a twist on the previous designs, this motif is not used to form windows in the façade. Instead, the Shanghai façade is mostly windowless, and the cornice motif is employed in layered panels that form an Art-Deco-inspired pattern. Art Deco is a theme that Shanghai and Bulgari have in common: the Chinese city’s status as a key port connecting East and West in the early 20th century gave it a rich tradition in this architectural style, while Bulgari’s Déco collection characterised its jewellery in the same period.
To close this circle of inspiration, the façade takes on the materiality of fine jewellery with panels that resemble China’s most precious stone, Jade. The result is a complex design, with layer upon layer of cross-cultural references; Art Deco architecture with a jewellery-like quality, combining the best of Eastern and Western culture. The gold-coloured brass trim gives the façade an appearance like jade jewellery.
The panels are made of sintered green glass, a unique material effect that creates a translucent finish. At night, a backlight behind the panels gives the façade a striking glow, highlighting the unique textural quality of the glass. The glass is completely recycled, produced at the Magna factory in Teutschenthal, Germany, which specialises in glass treatment.
The project demonstrates the potential of sustainable recycled materials, even in luxury contexts, and takes one step towards MVRDV and Bulgari’s goal of store designs that are built using 100% circular economy materials. Meanwhile, the backlight is engineered to minimise the façade’s energy footprint, using less than half the energy of a typical comparable installation.
Founding partner in charge: Jacob van Rijs
Partner: Fokke Moerel
Design team: Aser Giménez OrtegaSimone CostaGiovanni NardiElien Deceuninck
Director MVRDV Asia: Steven Smit
MVRDV Asia team: Ruochen ZhangCarmen Xu
Copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries
Glass Manufacture: MAGNA Glaskeramic GmbH
Contractor: RICH HONOUR International Design Co., Ltd
Photographs: © Bulgari, © Xia Zhi
Article courtesy of MVRDV