Recycled bottles transformed into luxury store's stunning green facade
MVRDV's stunning facade for Bulgari's flagship store in Shanghai, China, is designed to look like the building has a luxurious jade finish, however the glowing green exterior actually has far humbler origins: the firm created it using recycled glass bottles.
Bulgari Shanghai (the name is stylized Bvlgari) is located in a major shopping area in the bustling Chinese city. Its interior measures 274 sq m (almost 3,000 sq ft), with display tables showing off Bulgari's luxury wares, such as expensive jewelry and watches. However, MVRDV's focus was very much on the outside of the building with this project.
The firm drew inspiration from Bulgari's original store in Rome, as well as Art Deco design, to try and create a facade that resembles jade, which is obviously a very important precious stone in Chinese culture. It took a mixture of green, white, and transparent champagne bottles, as well as beer bottles and other types, which were melted down and pressed into panels and cut into the correct shapes in a specialist factory in Germany. They were then transported to Shanghai and mounted onto the exterior of the building. A gold-colored brass trim is meant to reinforce the appearance of a piece of jade jewelry and a backlight is installed to make it glow at night.
"The panels are made of compressed green glass, a unique material effect that creates a translucent finish," explains MVRDV. "At night, a backlight behind the panels gives the facade a striking glow, highlighting the unique textural quality of the glass. The glass is completely recycled, produced at the Magna factory in Teutschenthal, Germany, which specializes in glass treatment. The project demonstrates the potential of sustainable recycled materials, even in luxury contexts, and takes one step towards MVRDV and Bulgari's goal of store designs that are built using 100 percent circular economy materials. Meanwhile the backlight is engineered to minimize the facade's energy footprint, using less than half the energy of a typical comparable installation."
MVRDV has had a busy few weeks. In addition to completing Bulgari Shanghai, has also recently unveiled its finished Idea Factory elsewhere in China and plans for a residential tower shaped like an O in Germany.