Ben van Berkel / UNStudio’s Hanjie Wanda Square in Wuhan completed

Hanjie Wanda Square is a new luxury shopping plaza located in the Wuhan Central Culture Centre, one of the most important areas of Wuhan City in China.

Following a competition in 2011, with design entries from national and international architects, UNStudio’s overall design was selected as the winning entry for the facade and interior of the Hanjie Wanda Square. The luxury shopping plaza houses international luxury brand stores, world-class boutiques, catering outlets and cinemas.

In UNStudio’s design the concept of luxury is incorporated through the craftsmanship of noble, yet simple materials and combines both contemporary and traditional design elements in one concept.

Ben van Berkel said:

“Reflection, light and pattern are used throughout the Hanjie Wanda Square to create an almost fantastical world. New microcosms and experiences are created for the shopper, similar perhaps to the world of theatre, whereby the retail complex becomes almost a stage or a place of performance and offers a variety of different impressions and experiences to the visitor.”

Synergy of flows

For the design of the Hanjie Wanda Square attention and visitor flows are guided from the main routes towards the facades and entrances of the building. From the three main entrances visitor flows are thereafter guided to two interior atria.

The concept of ‘synergy of flows’ is key to all of the design components; the fluid articulation of the building envelope, the programming of the dynamic façade lighting and the interior pattern language which guides customers from the central atria to the upper levels and throughout the building via linking corridors.

Facade design

The façade design reflects the handcrafted combination of two materials: polished stainless steel and patterned glass. These two materials are crafted into nine differently trimmed, but standardised spheres. Their specific positions in relation to each other recreate the effect of movement and reflection in water, or the sensuous folds of silk fabric.

The architectural lighting is integrated into the building envelope’s 42.333 spheres. Within each sphere LED-fixtures emit light onto the laminated glass to generate glowing circular spots. Simultaneously a second set of LED’s at the rear side of the spheres create a diffuse illumination on the back panels. Various possibilities to combine and control the lighting allow diverse effects and programming of lighting sequences related to the use and activation of the Hanjie Wanda Square.

Interior concept

Ben van Berkel said:

“In Hanjie Wanda Square a circular motif is repeated in many different ways and patterns, both in the facade and throughout the interior. The patterns used are influenced by numerous cultural references, both traditional and contemporary. Patterns drive our aesthetic choices, whether they be personal or shared and in Hanjie Wanda Square, act as a background to the world of desire encapsulated in the contemporary shopping plaza.”

The interior concept is developed around the North and South atria, creating two different, yet integrated atmospheres. The atria become the centre of the dynamic duality of the two Hanjie Wanda Square identities: Contemporary and Traditional. Variations in geometry, materials and details define these differing characters.

With two main entrances, the North atrium is recognised as a main venue hall, and the South atrium as a more intimate venue hall. The North atrium is characterised by warm golden and bronze materials reflecting a cultural, traditional identity.