Thomas Heatherwick’s tree-covered shopping center in Shangai

The British designer created a shopping centre featuring 1,000 trees and 250,000 plants. It will resemble to a green mountain.

The nine-story shopping centre designed by Thomas Heatherwick – named “1,000 Trees”, but known as the West Mountain – is located near the M50 art district and the Suzhou Creek and reprehsents the first phase of the ex-industrial site development, that will be followed by the construcution of the 19-storey East Mountain building, which will contain offices and a hotel.

The structure features a grid of concrete columns arranged at a 45-degree angle to the river and each of them is topped with a planter that contains a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, as well as shrubs and hanging plants. The designer's aim is that the grid and numerous planters would help to break down the mass of the building, that contains 166 retail units. The shopping center contains in fact 62,706-square-metres of retail space, across 12 flagship stores, 91 shops and 63 food and beverage outlets. Heatherwick said that the project “breaks down the monolithic scale of a typical retail development into a multitude of human-scale spaces”.

Throughout the building have been placed a series of artworks curated by French street artist Paul Dezio, sixteen artists were commissioned to create different pieces, including a 40-metre-high mural for the elevator shaft, and also the street-facing sloping wall has been covered in street art. Lisa Finlay, partner at Heatherwick Studio, said: “It’s turned an ex-industrial site into a new destination exploring the powerful relationships between art, landscape and architecture”.

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