Diamond in the rough: Futuristic mall lands in China

15.05.2014 Heritage : Shopping Centre : Futuristic
Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark
Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark
Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark Wusibei Thaihot Plaza by Spark

Fuzhou, China – The Wusibei Thaihot Plaza in Fuzhou, a city in eastern China, is a sparkling crystal of a building, referencing the city’s industrial past and hinting at its booming future.

The shape of the building, designed by international architecture firm Spark, is a tribute to Marco Polo’s description of the city as a centre trading in precious stones, according to Frame magazine. The multi-faceted glass exterior looks like the cut of a fine crystal but brought into the future with LED screens and colour-changing aluminium panels. 

Although malls are declining in the US and the UK, in China shopping centres are booming as social shopping sites. The Wusibei Thaihot Plaza was designed with conviviality in mind. The structure has a path leading directly from the street to the roof, where there is a 24-hour cultural programme on offer to encourage a flow between city and shopping centre.

The design references are similar to those seen in the Industrial Futurism design direction, bringing together a gritty past with a gleaming future.

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