The Bund Finance Center is a prominent new mixed-use development close to the Shanghai waterfront and has been designed jointly by Foster + Partners and Heatherwick Studio. Occupying a prominent site on the Bund, the buildings define the 'end point' to Shanghai's most famous street. The masterplan is highly permeable for pedestrians, with the design conceived as a point of connection between the old town and the new financial district. Inspired by this urban context, two 180-metre landmark towers are placed in the south of the site, while the buildings facing the waterfront are staggered in height and relate in scale and rhythm to the grand nineteenth-century landmarks along the Bund.
The 420,000-square-metre development of eight buildings combines premium offices with a boutique hotel, a cultural centre and a wide variety of luxury retail spaces, all arranged around a landscaped public plaza. The retail spaces are vertically layered with boutiques, concept stores for international brands, a luxury shopping mall and restaurants. A palette of crafted stone and bronze details gives the buildings a jewel-like quality. The edges of each volume are made of richly textured, hand-crafted granite and become slimmer as they rise, giving the impression of solidity at the base and transparency at the top.
At the heart of the scheme is a flexible arts and cultural centre, which combines exhibition and events halls with a performance venue, inspired by the open stages of traditional Chinese theatres. The centre is conceived as a platform for international arts and cultural exchange, as well as a place for brand events, product launches and corporate functions. The building is encircled by a moving veil, which adapts to the changing use of the building and reveals the stage on the balcony and views towards Pudong.