UUfie uses grid of glowing glass cubes for Shanghai boutique

UUfie updates facade of Shanghai boutique with pixellated grid of glowing glass

Canadian studio UUfie created a pixellated appearance for the facade of this Shanghai boutique by adding rows of translucent glass cubes that light up at night like a big screen (+ slideshow).

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

UUfie founders Eiri Ota and Irene Gardpoit were asked to update the facade of the Shanghai flagship store of fashion brand Ports 1961, which sits at the busy intersection of Changde Road and Nanjing West Road in the city's commercial district.

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

Glass blocks are arranged in a meticulous gridded pattern across the walls of the building.

They frame window displays and a series of screens showing videos of the brand's catwalk shows and campaigns, which project from the facade.

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

"The design evokes the idea of a landform that resembles an iceberg floating freely in the ocean; the building having a sense of being undulated, expanding and contracting, as if shaped by its environment," said the architects.

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

The translucent glass gives the building a subdued grey colouring during the day but at night LEDs set in joins between the blocks illuminate the facade like a screen.

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

"The usage of satin glass blocks and shot-blasted stainless steel is in great contrast to the chaotic city," said the architects. "During the day, it mutes the surroundings, while subtly reflecting the sunlight."

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

"In the evening, the view is icy and crisp, and the surface illuminates with embedded LED lights integrated into the joints of the masonry," they added.


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"The differing geometries and changing perspectives of the facade express the transformative nature of the city and the people of Shanghai."

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

The blocks step inwards on one face of the building to create a canopy over the glazed entrance, following the course of a flight of wide stairs below.

Ports 1961 Shanghai by UUfie

Ota and Gardpoit worked on proposals for the Giant's Causeway Vistors Centre in Northern Ireland and educational institutes for the Aga Khan Foundation, prior to setting up their own studio in 2009.

Projects completed since then include a woodland home with a mirrored porch, a chair with a backrest shaped like a fan of peacock feathers and a Kanagawa apartment divided by velvet curtains.

Photography is by Shengliang Su.


Project credits:

Client: Ports 1961
Design architect: UUfie
General contractor: J. Gartner & Co
Project coordinator: Yabu Pushelberg
Interior designer: Yabu Pushelberg
Facade engineer: T/E/S/S Atelier d'Ingénierie
Lighting consultant: Inverse
Project Coordinator: Eightsixthree