KWG•M•CUBE completes in Beijing
MVRDV create pearlescent façade for new city mall
The KWG•M•CUBE, a 40,000-square-metre shopping centre designed by MVRDV, has completed construction in central Beijing. The client, KWG Group Holdings, wanted a mall that would stand out from the beige and grey neighbouring buildings, while also packing a large amount of space into a relatively small footprint. However, the city authorities expressed a preference for a more muted design. MVRDV worked with Meinhardt Façade Technology, contractor Gartner Permasteelisa Group, tile manufacturers NBK and HDTC, and co-architect Xinjiyuan to create a concept that satisfied these conflicting requirements.
In order to fit a large volume onto the site area, MVRDV envisioned a seven-storey building that rose to the maximum allowed height of 36 metres - an unusually tall structure for this kind of mall. The volume was cut away at various angles to enable the facades to face key locations, such as the railway station. This approach also allowed the designers to include open-air terraces on each level, symbolically oriented towards famous city landmarks. The client’s request for a strong visual statement was answered by wrapping the building in a pearlescent ceramic façade, creating a subtle effect that catches the attention of passers-by, without the need for large LED screens or other bold interventions. The tiles were made by applying three layers of glaze to the ceramic by hand, and firing at a different temperature each time.
Jacob van Rijs, principal and co-founder of MVRDV, said: “We designed the KWG•M•CUBE so that the building continuously displays new patterns and colours. Depending on the weather and light conditions and where you stand, the façade might look subtly grey, or it might shine with all the colours of the rainbow. Our solution allowed us to do exactly what the client and the city wanted: to create an attractive visual statement in which exuberance and modesty go hand in hand.”