Infinity in Design

Emporia, a mixed-use development project in Malmo, Sweden, designed by Wingårdhs Architecture highlights the double bent glass that appears to be cutting into the building

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Emporia, a new mixed-use development project in Malmo, Sweden is one-of-its-kind urban planning project which houses offices, residences and retail. Designed by Gert Wingårdhs, the building went on to be an award winner project. The idea behind designing an inward looking retail was to hide it behind a fascia of residential and commercial buildings. The whole shopping complex is designed with the intention of integrating it into the fabric of the city. It has a total floor space of 93,000 sq m with a good mix of shopping, art, food and design spread over three floors. Around 11,000 sq m of space is reserved for offices.

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Concealed in Bronze

This huge development project sports the amber entrance at one corner of the building. The idea of lining the streets with mixed-use buildings demanded a strong form that could attract visitors from Station Square near Malmo to come in and shop. A sequence of vaults, along with some inspiration from the Pantheon, culminated in a stunning bronze ochre crystal-like facade. The double-bent glass is the highlight as it encloses the diagonal slit and cuts through the building creating a four dimensional effect.

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Infinity Design

The interiors of shopping complex are designed on the lines of symbol of infinity; shops are then grouped together around the boldly coloured atriums, each with a different theme. Emporia’s interior challenges the conventional shopping-centre designs. Its bold colours and bent sightlines break with the norm, as do the project’s size and ambition, which has made it possible to custom designs everything from ceilings, floors, and storefronts to signage, plant wires and indoor planters, furniture, and cast glass door handles.

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“Our motto has been ‘no intermediate scale’ because that is the realm of the products on display,” states Gert Wingårdhs, Principal Architect, Wingårdhs Architecture. Large-scale patterns and intricate details characterise the interior. The terrazzo floor is typical of this approach, with its oversized triangular joint pattern, its gradual shift from white to graphite in seven steps, and its flashing inclusions of coloured mirror glass. The design has been wrought with extraordinary attention to detail, down to the leather-wrapped handrails and the colour of the stitching on the built-in seating.

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Element of Art

Emporia also includes ample arty elements seldom seen in a commercial environment. A lighting installation consisting of approximately 99 bollards, designed by Petteri Nisunen and Tommi Grönlund illuminate the amber entrance; bronze sculptures by Joep van Lieshout and a glass art piece by Silja Rantanen adorn the sea entrance and a line painting on film at an extremely outsized format (20 m x 114 m) by Per Mårtensson clads the façade of the parking garage. On the interior is a series of photos by Signe Maria Andersen.

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Green Park

On the north side of the complex, a ramp leads to a rainbow-coloured parking garage with direct access to the heart of the building which is shaped like digit eight (infinity symbol). The indoor parking lot can accommodate roughly 2500 cars while the surface parking lot can accommodate 500 cars right outside the supermarket. A garden is cultivated on the rooftop parking space. The rooftop patio faces the sun and is sheltered from wind from both inside and outside the building. One can find variety of plants such as sedum, prairie grass, and trees on the patio.

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With its out-of-the-box and innovative design, the building is already breaking the established norms set for the shopping centres across the world. However, compliments and positive reviews have not stopped them from adding more décor elements and facilities through design. The next step in line is to develop an outdoor dining, a spa facility and an amusement park. With these and a lot more to come, Emporia is already on its way to be recognised as a revolutionary design in its segment.

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Photos: Tord-Rickard Söderström, Perry Nordeng, Traian Cimpeanu, André Pihl


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  1. koyalsite

    This is Beautiful! One of the craziest architecture i have seen or read about, till date. Wingårdhs Architecture have done an amazing work. I wish icould go to Sweden now to see this beauty..

    • Yes @koyalsite. This Emporio building is one of our favorites too. Keep browsing for more interesting feed from across the globe. 🙂

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