The artistic jewelry-box-like museum by the Huangpu River, eye catching and attention drawing

In the midst of museum booms in China, AURORA Museum took advantage of opportunities when the timing presents itself, and selected the renowned Pudong Lujiazui financial district for establishing itself on the Huangpu riverbank. Designed by Tadao Ando, the celebrated Japanese architect who has received, among many others, the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the structure carries the signature of its creator – a jewelry box concept in the style of Oriental Zen combined with minimalism. Not very showy, the building looks serene over the river. As the night falls and city lights spring up, the building glows tenderly in a refreshing elegant blue, subdued and calming and therefore uniquely outstanding in bustling Shanghai.

The part which Cogitoimage was responsible for, was the interior planning and the greatest challenge within lies in meeting Tadao Ando's characteristic style and also highlighting the client’s achievements by long years’ studies on antiquities at the same time. For this purpose Cogitoimage has planned a boutique display area and a study room for materials, handicrafts, forms and styles of antiquities, both on each floor. Different aspects and approaches demonstrate the beauty of the exhibits in fineness. In order to fully reflect the architectural characteristics, Cogitoimage used diverse color lighting to accentuate specific moods - starting from the third floor with a dim gray light tone to fully brightness and clarity on the sixth floor.

One of the challenges to us was the rigorous quality screening process. Tadao Ando visited the ongoing construction site to inspect the effects of the showcase prototypes.

Skeleton metal frame structures during stair construction process

The spatial design, exhibition displays, atmospheric illuminations, traffic flows and multimedia programming, all are instruments to tell an enchanting story with smooth theme transitions and various ways to present them, all are elements to engage visitors, leaving artistic impressions that would make the visitor ponder and last for a long while. 

To match the relatively small sizes and the natural colorings of jade antiquities, the exhibition on the third floor has been given pale green as the main theme color. Visitors strolling through showcases and wall niches with jade relics are experiencing a quiet introverted atmosphere hinting the process of precious stone immersed in natural forces becoming one of the most exquisite treasures. The study room on this floor is designed as a "jade workshop", showing design drafts for jades, machine tools, and multimedia equipment to guide visitors to understand jades und finding the love for it.

Going further upstairs, there is the collection of blue and white porcelain; here the traffic flow is designed to be simultaneous with the direction of the Huangpu river flow. Visitors following it will learn about the prosperous epoch of porcelain trade in Yuan Dynasty. And in order to demonstrate the momentum of the porcelain treasures travelling overseas, the design concept of the exhibition room was “floating”. To convey the sense of nobility and lightness, a lot of thoughts were put into the illumination design and purple was chosen to highlight the supremacy. On the other hand, the study room is designed with the concept "into the world of blue and white". It’s decorated with novel Chinese style antique screens and displaying the diversities and complexities of blue and white porcelain with the simplicity of interactive tools. 

Taking stair steps to the sixth floor, a wide space with high ceiling opens up in front of visitors, there is the Buddhist statues exhibition. Introducing a large amount of natural light with emphasis lightings, the room conveys a feeling of divine blessing of Buddhism. The basic color tone is gray, combined with golden illumination highlights to express the charm of Buddha. The overall design was kept simple with "grotto" as key element to display a solemn atmosphere within the exhibition hall.