heatherwick will wrap shanghai exhibition center in 'futuristic' chinese moon bridges

heatherwick will wrap shanghai exhibition center in 'futuristic' chinese moon bridges

‘west bund orbit’ designed for shanghai waterfront


Heatherwick Studio, the British architecture firm, unveils the design of a new exhibition center to be situated on Shanghai‘s emerging West Bund waterfront. Named the ‘West Bund Orbit,’ this building will stand at the heart of the new Financial Hub in the Chinese city’s Xuhui District, making its mark on the Huangpu riverside and becoming a prominent landmark in the area.


An expansive main exhibition space will occupy the core of the building, with ancillary functions on the upper levels. A second perimeter gallery gracefully wraps around the main hall at ground floor level, opening out with tall windows to offer glimpses of the exhibitions inside. By opening up the building to the public, the West Bund Orbit becomes an inviting space that beckons visitors to explore it.

heatherwick west bund shanghaiimages © Devisual



traditional motifs with a ‘futuristic twist’


With the ‘ribbon’ staircases wrapping the West Bund Orbit, the architects at Heatherwick Studio nod to Chinese moon bridges, employing the traditional motif through a futuristic lens. This design choice imparts a sense of constant rotational motion to the building, giving it a dynamic and captivating appearance. As visitors ascend the structure, glazed openings in the facade reveal glimpses of the inner exhibition hall, framing the main entrances at every level. Finally, at the rooftop, the ribbons unfurl into an open-air canopy, offering views across the river and the West Bund area, creating a serene experience for visitors.


This is an exhibition hall designed to be explored and experienced. Rather than merely boxing up a gallery within an ornamental facade, the ‘Orbit’s’ appearance will be animated by the people who visit it,’ said Neil Hubbard, Group Leader at Heatherwick Studio.Its location on the bend of the river means it can be a real beacon for the area, drawing people in not just for the events it hosts but the whole of Shanghai West Bund.’

heatherwick west bund shanghai



an exhibition hall wrapped in viewing platforms


Nestled within the new district and connected to the cultural riverside park, the West Bund Orbit is designed as a public space to be experienced in its entirety, both inside and out. Its facade resembles a stack of interweaving ribbons, resulting in an undulating series of staircases, bridges, and terraces that are accessible to all. These architectural elements provide visitors with the opportunity to ascend to the building’s rooftop garden and enjoy multiple viewing platforms, taking in panoramic views of the river and the entire West Bund area.

heatherwick west bund shanghai



heatherwick studio in shanghai


The West Bund Orbit will be situated directly opposite the site of the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010, where Heatherwick Studio designed its iconic Seed Cathedral. During the Expo, the Seed Cathedral attracted over 8 million visitors and received the gold award for Pavilion Design. This connection, together with the team’s monumental 1000 trees development, exemplifies the studio’s continued journey in creating sculptural landmarks in Shanghai.

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