Natural evolution: the Shanghai Museum of Glass gains a new wing

Natural evolution: the Shanghai Museum of Glass gains a new wing

A new design wing has been unveiled to mark the fifth anniversary of the Shanghai Museum of Glass, part of the G+PARK campus of new and refurbished buildings on the grounds of a disused glass factory.

The 2,100 sq m, two-storey and unmistakably modern structure, completely renovated by Shanghai-based museum specialists Coordination Asia, is now also connected to the museum’s Main Hall by a new bridge of tinted glass that creates a special holographic effect of yellow, red and green.

The device sets the scene for visitors making the transition from the museum’s Main Hall – which is completely black inside and out – to the clean and minimal new wing housing a permanent collection of glass design. The eclectic range includes iconic pieces like ’Soft’ (2015) and ’Overflow’ (2012) by Japanese design studio Nendo and the Campana Brothers’ ’Batuque Vase’ (2000).

As disparate as they may seem, the pieces in the collection complete the visitor’s understanding of the meaning of glass, explains Coordination Asia senior designer Manuela Mappa, with the Main Hall dedicated to the history and science of glass and another nearby hall featuring glass as modern art.

Inside the new wing, the interiors were deliberately kept understated with Coordination Asia’s signature palette of soft grey, white and black, offset with oak floors and dark mirrors. Raw concrete pillars offer a nod to the structure’s previous life as an industrial workshop.

At the core of the structure is a dramatic geometric-style staircase amid an intriguing installation of neon design-inspired statements including, ‘Whatever you think, think the opposite’ and ’What is essential is invisible to the eye’ in English, with adaptations in Chinese.

‘The collection really shows how far glass design has come,’ says the Coordination Asia team. ‘Many of the designers often say they had no idea of what the outcome of their work would be because it is such an unpredictable material. It will never stop evolving.’ Watch this space.

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