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China Resources Times Square, Shanghai

Lighting up a classic theatre-like luxury mall

Built in 1993, China Resources Times Square is a luxury retail development in the centre of Lujiazui, the financial district of Shanghai. The 9-storey shopping mall, with a total GFA of 51,000m2, was completely renovated after 20 years in operation and reopened its doors to the public in December 2019.

To bring out the new concept of ‘Beauty Theatre’ through creating a living space experience, Arup was appointed by China Resources Land for lighting design services covering façade, landscape, interior common areas and themed zones.

Project Summary


51,000 total GFA

9-storeyshopping mall

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Raising curtain adorning Shanghai at night

The mall’s façade design is inspired by a raising curtain to welcome everyone to this ‘Beauty Theatre’. Layers of ‘drapery’ formed by bespoke aluminum rods with our tailored lighting design create an understated elegance that distinguishes the mall from its surroundings after dark.

The three distinct lighting layers are: 3000K linear wall grazing lightings mounted on the top of the building, illuminating the rods from top; 4000K back lightings on the main elevation to create contrast with the rods’ warm colour with linear fixtures mounted behind the white glass on each floor; and customised 3000K spotlights concealed within each of the 800+ perforated rods. The narrow beam uplights at the bottom of each rod provide accent lighting that reinforces the curvature and layers of the giant curtain.

Recreating a classic theatre

The interior features of the mall are modern interpretations of a classic theatre, with a combination of general lighting, accent lighting and lighting features to create a dramatic, luxurious and visually appealing environment.

To distinguish the function and atmosphere of the interior spaces, two colour levels were used: 3000K for circulation and rest areas and 4000K for the daylit atrium. In the atrium, linear fixtures with highlighting optics and downlights with very narrow beams are featured at specific zones at the top of the curtain strings to highlight the curves and waves formed by the curtains. Considering the high ceilings, we developed bespoke fixture housing for ease of maintenance and glare control.


Creating a dynamic atmosphere

To create a more dynamic atmosphere for the mall, our lighting design adopts Digital Multiplex (DMX) protocol for more granular control of dimming and animation. For example, during sunset, the lights on the bottom of the rods gradually increase in light intensity, reflecting the ‘opening’ of the and the start of a play, which then remains static during nighttime opening hours. The curtain lighting gradually dims down at midnight, signifying closure as the play comes to an end.