Shanghai Shopping Complex Showcases Unique Living Wall that Moves Gracefully in the Wind

By Phil Pearce, Lorin Industries, Inc.

Shanghai boasts some of the world’s newest and most iconic buildings, but the CapitaMall LuOne shopping complex is surely one of the most unique. Designed by famed international architect Moshe Safdie, the CapitaMall LuOne’s façade includes a living wall with exterior curtain wall “flappers” made from Custom ClearBrite® and Custom Silver White anodized aluminum provided by Lorin, which move gracefully in the wind. The façade’s shining silver-toned exterior offers the balance of beauty, durability, and weatherability.

The 140,000 square meter eight-story shopping mall features two stories underground and 6 stories above ground. With more than 200 retail spaces, dozens of restaurants, a supermarket, and a cinema, the new landmark development is directly connected to two subway lines.

The innovative living wall design features 160- x 180-millimeter rectangular panels that are attached to spindles, which are affixed to the wall, allowing them to move with the wind. To achieve the architect’s living wall vision, Lorin’s application experts developed a customized composition for the panels’ anodic layer that balances durability, corrosion resistance, and weatherability with the need to turn easily and smoothly on the spindles.

Working closely with Shenzhen Bond Industry Co. Ltd., Lorin’s China distributor and partner, the team prepared several mockups, including a 10-foot by 200-foot section on the side of the building used by the architect to test the panels’ appearance and performance. After being selected from among several bidders, Lorin and Shenzhen Bond worked with a fabricator who developed the technology to design and fabricate the more than 180,000 panels and, with a local curtain wall installer, installed these on the building, accomplishing it all in only four months. They also developed different finishes to accommodate reflectivity needs of local residents.

“The architect appreciated the consultation and material selection advice Lorin and Shenzhen Bond provided, which helped them meet their creative vision for the design of this signature building,” said Edward Chen, President and General Manager of Shenzhen Bond. “With the panels made from Lorin anodized aluminum, the architect achieved the silvery beauty of stainless steel with a material that is lighter, wears better, and can ripple in even the lightest winds.”