China Resources Land Times Square is a luxury retail development in the centre of Lujiazui, the financial district of Shanghai. Built in 1993, the 9-storey shopping mall was completely renovated after 20 years in operation and reopened its doors with a total area of 51,000sqm and 170 tenants to the public on December 2019.

The Japanese designers nendo x Nomura led the architectural design, adopting the concept of the ‘Theatre’. This concept was carried from the exterior throughout the interior design, such that the shopping experience becomes akin to the journey through a theatre.

On the exterior, screens inspired by stage curtains drapes over the building façade, creating layers of arch patterns. Lighting design was developed to reinforce its elegant appearance after dark by applying a linear graze lighting along the top of the curtain as well as providing sparkling accent lighting at the bottom ends of the curtain. In addition, as a backdrop to the curtains, backlit facades on the main elevation illuminated in cool white (4000K) creates contract with the warm colour (3000K) lighting on the curtains.

The lighting team worked closely with the architects and tested multiple mock-ups especially to determine the optimum design of the perforated pattern on the screen aluminium rods and the types of fixtures to be integrated within. Due to a relatively tight budget and a fast-paced project schedule of around 1.5 years, the custom luminaires were designed, sourced and developed with a local manufacturer. Care was taken to allow easy maintenance of fixtures, while integrating the light sources to suit the semicircular shape of the rods.

At the main entrance, the drop off canopy design is inspired by Broadway lights and the design is a modern interpretation of the Broadway inspirations. Attention is drawn to the feature ceiling, inviting people to enter the theatrical space of the mall.

The lighting design uses DMX controls to allow for the programming of the façade lighting, making reference to the opening and closing of the curtains before and after a theatre show. As dusk falls, the lights on the bottom of the rods gradually increase in light intensity, reflecting the ‘opening’ of the and the start of a play, which then remains static during nighttime opening hours. The curtain lighting gradually dims down at midnight, signifying closure as the play comes to an end.

This project is evidence that working with a strong narrative and concept, subtle, monochromatic lighting solutions can create a strong visual and branding identity, producing an understated elegance that distinguishes the mall from its surroundings after dark.

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