Dazzling lights, flashing billboards, and facilities that never sleep might conjure images of Tokyo and New York City, but one mall in Fuzhou, the capital of the southeastern Fujian province in China, is seeking to achieve all of these aspects in one. International architecture studio Spark has recently completed a multi-faceted, color-changing shopping center that seeks to facilitate a continuous flow of pedestrian traffic both inside and out.
The project is named Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza and is situated in the city’s Jinan district. The first striking impression of the structure is its gem-like exterior with its geometrical shapes. As reported by design site Dezeen, the architects take inspiration from Marco Polo’s historical description of Fuzhou as “an important center of commerce in precious stones.” They describe the plaza as “the modern day ‘precious stone,’ a gem, located in the heart of Fuzhou soon to be discovered by many alike.”
Some of the giant facets are actually illuminated signage and LED displays, allowing for the building itself to be composed of giant, seamless billboards. During the day, the specially treated coated exterior changes color depending on viewing angle, amping up the jewel theme of the building. At night, perforations in the building’s aluminum panels are illuminated, creating the impression of a starry night sky.
The project is more than just a pretty façade, however—“It is an important step for Spark to bring our 24-hour vertical street concept to reality,” said the firm’s director Jan Felix Clostermann. “The opening day has shown that it will make a big impact to this street culture city.”
A typical mall design usually locates facilities such as cinemas & KTV at the upper levels. These functions operate past the opening hours of regular retail shops, necessitating the public to navigate through a darkened, closed mall space when leaving. To mitigate this dilemma, Fuzhou Wusibei Thaihot Plaza has two routes: one directs traffic within the mall’s seven stories of retail shops, and the other a direct access to the late-night facilities, such as the cinema, karaoke, rooftop mini-golf, and late-night dining.