International retail centre, Suning Wuhu Plaza, is set to play a major role in supporting the Chinese city of Wuhu’s rapidly developing economy. Designed by architecture firm, MG2, the ten-story structure features a multitude of brands, an indoor ice-skating rink, IMAX theatre and dining options for all ages.
Glass curtain walls frame the building’s exterior, creating a transparent window for global retailers to connect with the local market. At sunset, neon lights transform the building into a beacon for nightlife activities. A bright, open interior plan creates a welcoming and easily navigable experience for patrons, while a 600-space parking garage, outdoor pavilion and multiple street-level entry points provide easy access.
MG2 designers were inspired to explore the relationship that exists between the pulsating urban environment and the area’s abundance of glimmering bodies of water. The motif of water is therefore embodied in multiple architectural elements throughout.
A prevalent example is the way in which rounded balconies gracefully emerge into the centre of the interior space, at certain vantage points appearing to almost float. Their staggered positions, varying sizes and undulating details symbolise the “ripple effect” that occurs when a pebble breaks the smooth surface of water, tranquilly permeating rings outward.
The translucent and ever-evolving complexion of water also serves to inform the plaza’s multifaceted façade. A combination of horizontal and vertical rhythms comprise the majority of the building’s exterior surface and emanate a sense of “flow” reminiscent of a rushing river.
When juxtaposed against these architectural striations, a portion of windows comprising the building’s upper levels gives the appearance of water being pelted by rain drops. Concurrently, white neon lights render an adjoining building quadrant’s windows opaque as if moonlight were reflecting off a lake’s calm surface.
In addition to the aquatic-inspired design narratives expressed, the architectural elements integrated into the building’s exterior provide functional and aesthetic advantages. For instance, the dynamic massing concept introduced visually reduces the volume of the structure to give the plaza a more streamlined appearance without compromising the developer’s programmatic requirements.