Shanghai 2010 - Z58

Z58 is an office building for a lighting design company (Zhongtai Lighting Group) located on Fanyu Road in the French Concession. Converted from an old watch factory, the renovation was designed by famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

From the outside, the building almost disappears due to deliberate design by the architect. The façade is a series of horizontal stainless steel planter boxes which cover the entire front elevation of the building. The mirror finish of the stainless steel reflect the surrounding, and the small green plants cover the façade completing this disappearing act.

As you enter the building, you are confronted by a 3-storey high atrium entirely covered in glass. It is a glass box design which brings an incredible quality of light into the space. At the opposite end of the atrium is a full mirrored wall which made the space appear much larger then it actually was. There you will also find a single lift in a glass lift shaft connected to the main building with glass bridges. The whole composition is high-tech, yet very natural – a Kengo Kuma trademark.

Inside the building, the design is very minimalist.

The big surprise is on the roof level, where there are a number of private suites for the company’s senior management and guests. The Kengo Kuma trademark water and glass are featured strongly here.

If you are interested to visit, the address is 58 Panyu Road, near the Shanghai Jiaotong University. Be sure to make an appointment as they do not welcome drop-in visitors. Remember this is a functioning office.


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