Bulgari Shanghai flagship store, Plaza 66 Nanjing Road Shop, Contemporary MVRDV Chinese Architecture Photos

Bulgari Shanghai flagship store by MVRDV

12 December 2021

Design: MVRDV, The Netherlands

Location: Shanghai Plaza 66, Nanjing Road, Shanghai, China

The façade employs the same cornice motif that is used across MVRDV’s designs for Bulgari, forming layered panels that produce an Art-Deco-inspired pattern:
Bulgari Shanghai Plaza 66 retail façade by MVRDV
photograph © Bulgari

Bulgari Shanghai retail façade design by MVRDV

Rotterdam, December 2021- A jade façade made from recycled champagne bottles: MVRDV completes Bulgari flagship store in Shanghai

Shanghai Plaza 66 – one of the largest and most popular shopping malls in Shanghai – is now the home of a new Bulgari flagship store at Shanghai’s Nanjing Road. The new store features a green, jade-like façade designed by MVRDV, 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.

The façade takes on the materiality of fine jewellery with panels that resemble China’s most precious stone, Jade:
Bulgari Shanghai Plaza 66 retail façade by MVRDV Architects
photograph © Bulgari

Bulgari Shanghai is the third flagship store façade in MVRDV’s ongoing partnership with the luxury Italian jewellery 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.

At night, a backlight behind the panels gives the façade a striking glow, highlighting the unique textural quality of the glass:
Bulgari Shanghai store façade by MVRDV Architects
photo © Bulgari

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.

Recycled champagne bottles broken and reformed to make the store’s jade façade:
Chinese flagship store jade material design

Bulgari Shanghai shop jade material
photos © Bulgari

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 gold-coloured brass trim heightens the jewellery-like effect of the design:
Bulgari Shanghai flagship shop façade China
photo © Bulgari

The panels are made of compressed 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.

The panels are made of compressed green glass, a unique material effect that creates a translucent finish:
Bulgari Shanghai Plaza 66 store façade by MVRDV Architects
photo © Xia Zhi

“Our collaboration with Bulgari has yielded some fascinating material experiments,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “It’s a passion we share with them, albeit in different design disciplines. The Shanghai store encapsulates the value of these experiments: given the right treatment and detailing, leftover champagne and beer bottles, which would otherwise be thrown away, become a jewel for the city.”

The project is the third storefront that MVRDV has designed for Bulgari, and the latest in a series of material experiments developed in the partnership:
Bulgari Shanghai flagship store by MVRDV jade material
photo © Bulgari

Bulgari Shanghai is the third shopfront MVRDV designed for the Italian brand: in 2018 Bulgari Kuala Lumpur opened with a marble-inspired façade illuminated by veins of gold light. For this effect, glass-reinforced concrete was cut according to the cornice pattern, filled with resin, and illuminated by amber LED Lights. This was followed by the opening of Bulgari Bangkok in 2020, where the cornice pattern was created in brass and combined with different types of glass to give a striking jewel-like effect. Subtle lighting in each window highlights the store’s products in Bulgari’s signature saffron colour.

A video showing the design process of the Bulgari store in more detail can be seen here:

Bulgari Shanghai Plaza 66 retail façade – Building Information

Project Name: Bulgari Shanghai
Location: Shanghai, China
Year: 2021
Client: Bulgari
Size: 274m2
Programme: retail façade

Bulgari Shanghai flagship store jade material cutting
photo © Bulgari

Credits
Architect: MVRDV
Founding Partner in charge: Jacob van Rijs
Partner: Fokke Moerel
Design Team: Jacob van Rijs, Fokke Moerel, Aser Gimenez Ortega, Simone Costa, Giovanni Nardi, Elien Deceuninck
Director MVRDV Asia: Steven Smit
MVRDV Asia Team: Ruochen Zhang, Carmen Xu

Images: © Bulgari, © Xia Zhi
Copyright: MVRDV Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs, Nathalie de Vries

Partners:
Glass manufacture: MAGNA Glaskeramic GmbH
Contractor: RICH HONOUR International Design Co., Ltd

Bulgari Shanghai flagship shop jade material cutting

Chinese flagship shop jade material design
photos © Bulgari

MVRDV

Bulgari Shanghai retail façade by MVRDV images / information received from MVRDV Architects, The Netherlands

Location: Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

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