The façade takes on the materiality of fine jewelry with panels that resemble China’s most precious stone, Jade
photo credit: © Bulgari

A new Bulgari flagship store in Shanghai Plaza 66, a major shopping mall in Shanghai, features a green, jade-like façade designed by MVRDV. Constructed with recycled champagne, beer and other glass bottles, the storefront’s green color serves as an homage to China’s most precious stone, jade. According to a press release, Shanghai’s use of Art Deco architecture, as well as the original Bulgari store in Rome served as the project’s primary influences.

The Shanghai façade is mostly windowless, and the cornice motif is used in layered panels to form an Art-Deco-inspired pattern. Additionally, the storefront’s use of green glass and gold-colored brass trim resembles the look of jade jewelry.

“Art Deco is a theme that Shanghai and Bulgari have in common: the Chinese city’s status as a key port connecting East and West in the early 20th century gave it a rich tradition in this architectural style, while Bulgari’s Déco collection characterized its jewelry in the same period,” the press release reads.

The panels are made of compressed green glass, a material effect to create a translucent finish. At night, a backlight behind the panels allows the store to glow, highlighting the textural quality of the glass. The glass is completely recycled, produced at the Magna factory in Teutschenthal, Germany, which specializes in glass treatment.

The panels are made of compressed green glass, a unique material effect that creates a translucent finish.
Photo credit: © Xia Zhi

Sustainability was also important. The luxury brand’s project demonstrates the potential of sustainable recycled materials and “takes one step towards MVRDV and Bulgari’s goal of store designs that are built using 100% circular economy materials,” according to MVRDV. The backlight is also energy efficient, using less than half the energy of a typical comparable installation.

Bulgari Shanghai is the third flagship store façade in MVRDV’s ongoing partnership with the Italian jewelry brand.

“Our collaboration with Bulgari has yielded some fascinating material experiments,” says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “It’s a passion we share with them, albeit in different design disciplines. The Shanghai store encapsulates the value of these experiments: given the right treatment and detailing, leftover champagne and beer bottles, which would otherwise be thrown away, become a jewel for the city.”