West Bund Orbit, Shanghai, China

中國上海 西岸漩心

Wutopia Lab|Wutopia Lab 建築師事務所

The Chinese name for the exhibition hall, '西岸漩心' (West Bund Orbit), derives from the poetic line '水理漩洑,鹏风翱翔' ('Water swirls and soars with the wind'). This powerful and dynamic phrase helps the audience connect the natural forms presented in architecture and interior design, such as waves, vortexes, ribbons, stars, and orbits. It aids in understanding that people are like stars, able to orbit outside the building along trajectories. Hence, the name 'Orbit' emerged.


The first set of documents I received was the ground plan confirmed by the transportation authority, with a diamond-shaped circular corridor surrounding a diamond-shaped exhibition hall. I was informed that the design should embody the spirit of Shanghai. At that time, I had just finished reading Underland: A Deep Time Journey and there was a chapter about vortex which made me connect it to Shanghai. Shanghai has always been in the vortex of public opinion but always manages to create surprising achievements. I thought, what a great theme a vortex would be. I rotated the diamond plan and decided to design the exterior walls of the exhibition hall as a vortex. It would become the second layer of the facade behind the glass curtain wall. I structured the entire interior design PLOT based on the theme of the vortex. The exhilarating vortex dominates the first story, one that has a luxurious height of 10m. Inside the marble vortex is a clean and multifunctional grand event hall used for exhibitions, fashion shows, and conferences. The vortex pattern is reflected in the division of the circular corridor flooring, and at the same time creates a richly layered ceiling. 


Different levels of patterns effectively conceal the structure and equipment pipelines between the facade and the exterior walls of the exhibition hall, allowing the vortex to stand out visually without being cluttered. The vortex becomes the dominant visual element, maximizing the tension of symbolic significance in a visual sense.






The expansive water surface serves as the hall for showcasing models. Based on the variable cross-section structure, I designed the roof ceiling as a slightly curved dome, creating a skylight that utilizes maximum net height to simulate the sky. Below the sky, there is a pattern of the Huangpu River, winding through island-like model platforms, leading to the subtly outlined gate of Tushan Bay. Behind it is a large conference room, surrounded by lush greenery, resembling a forest, facing the slowly eastward-flowing Huangpu River. Reality and imagination converge at this moment, in this space.


The second floor is the exhibition hall, representing the calm water surface with ripples and shores left after the vortex. Behind the scenes on the second floor, all auxiliary functions such as the entrance hall, projection room, restrooms, VIP lounge, and various meeting rooms are hidden behind the shores – abstracted caves accommodating diverse needs. Upon entering the second floor through the hall known as the 'White Cliff,' one can follow the scroll expressing the glorious moments of Xu Guangqi's life or directly enter the main space filled with shimmering water reflections.





The basement of Orbit serves functional purposes, housing public corridors, communal restrooms, communal dressing rooms and VIP dressing rooms. They represent the underwater world beneath the vortex. The architect created an underwater lighting experience in the corridors, and using three different colors of electroplated stone, along with coral-colored stone materials, he simultaneously constructed the symbolic meaning of an underwater coral reef on the basement level. We were so enamored with the coral theme that we used green jade marble to craft the VVIP dressing room on the first floor. When the photographer captures an overhead shot of the dressing rooms from the mezzanine, it creates the illusion that the protagonists are in both a real and surreal myth.



Principal Architeure:YU Ting

Project Architect:Liran SUN

Construction Drawing Design: Shanghai Tianhua Architectural Design Co. LTD

Interior Design: Wutopia Lab

Client: Shanghai Yibin Real Estate Co., Ltd.

Principal Material:Marble, Grind stone, GRG

Building Area:4500 sqm

Location: Shanghai, China

Photo:CreatAR Images

Text:Wutopia Lab

Collator:Chloe Su






建築設計:Heatherwick Studio




影像:CreatAR Images

文字:Wutopia Lab


Wutopia Lab|Wutopia Lab 建築師事務所
Wutopia Lab成立於中國上海,是一間以魔幻現實主義,創造日常奇蹟的全球本地化先鋒建築設計事務所。