“All experiences of all buildings should be totally unique, in a way.”
“Architecture has always been about light and colour.”
Shopping centers should not be bleak
Jaokim Lyth, an architect with Wingårdh arkitektkontor was faced with a design problem: how to create an attractive and inviting entrance for the Emporia shopping center in Hyllie on the south side of Malmö, Sweden.
"A shopping centre is a very introverted and closed off space, so the entrance is very important. How can we accentuate; how can we enforce the entrance; how can we make the entrance extremely visceral and attractive?" pondered Lyth and his team.
During their research, they looked at other shopping centers and found that most used mild colors — whites, beiges and natural stones. "Everything was very, very neutral and soft. And then we found out that that was because people we afraid that colours or texture or anything would disturb the shops and their products. Everything around us was really bleak." commented Lyth.
They also kept in mind that Malmö is a multi-cultural city with many languages spoken and with large elderly populations. They wanted to make sure everyone could find their way around the Emporia shopping center. By using color and uniquely shaped panes of glass, Lyth's vision brought a budding city center to life.
Wingårdh arkitektkontor are among the biggest architecture firms in Sweden. Founded by Gert Wingårdh, Wingårdh arkitektkontor, maintains an international practice. With over 100 employees in their Gothenburg office, they also have 50 employees in Stockholm and their Malmö office is five years old with fifteen architects and engineers.
|Gert Wingårdh, Wingårdh arkitektkontor, Sweden|
CRICURSA was founded in 1928 and since its beginnings the company has been focused on bending glass. The company was created to bend glass for little panels for interiors. The company evolved into making bigger panels for store fronts and now focuses on unique projects that use oversized pieces of curved glass, such as the featured Emporia.
|CRICURSA, Barcelona, Spain|
To bring his vision to life, Lyth used a lot of Vanceva colours, citing that it was the only thing that could do what they wanted.
“We looked at solid coloured glass, but the thing is you can’t really know the thickness of glass you want. The glass dimension is very much up to the contractor to make sure that the safety regulations, etc. is complied with. What’s really good with Vanceva for that is that, whatever thickness of the glass, the colour will still be intact.”
A colored vision
Cricursa, the glass manufacturer, faced a real challenge in creating this design. “We had to think about making close to five hundred different shapes, different moulds,” said Joan Tarrùs, marketing director for Cricursa.
To build both of these curvaceous glass entrances, glass manufacturer Cricursa created 567 molds to slump 815 curved glass panels. The largest panel in the project measured 3,571 x 2,718 mm. Free-form geometry allowed the glass to be bent using annealing techniques, obtaining high optical quality, reduced mold marks, and a very low controlled residual stress. A key point in achieving the architect’s concept was the selection of the right product to convey color to the glass while maintaining high transparency and low hazing.
“In the case of Malmö the architect wanted colored glass and, nowadays, when we think about colored glass, we no longer think about tinted glass, but we think more about ultra-clear glass combined with lamination, pure colors using interlayers. In this case we chose Vanceva,” said Tarrùs.
An architectural marvel
The idea of the entrance comes from the Pantheon in Rome; a building with a hole in the ceiling and an eye towards the sky. The façade of Emporia is a flat glass surface with a large section pulled inward and upward to create magnificent curved surfaces. The amber glass entrance at Hyllie Station Square draws shoppers in with its diagonal chasm cut deep into a block of gold. From the opposing side of this complex, a similar collapsed glass entrance of sea blue pulls people in like the tide. Together, these openings are like the sun and the sea, and in between, Emporia offers three stories of rainbow-hued architecture arranged in a figure eight.
Emporia shopping complex is a marvel to see, and its stunning exterior only hints at the beauty that lies within.