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This New Guangzhou Theater Is Covered in Embroidered Silk Imagery

The architectural masterpiece will open in 2021.


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China is taking the architecture world by storm, especially when it comes to new cultural centers. The Zhang Yan Cultural Museum, for example, was designed to transform a brick home's ruins into modern galleries. And a natural history museum in Shenzhen resembles a flowing river. Now, the design of a 2,000 seat theater in Guangzhou was just revealed, complete with an eye-popping exterior.

Steven Chilton Architects (SCA) just completed the Sunac Guangzhou Grand Theatre showing off a uniquely rounded structure clad in bright red with mythical Phoenix prints. The combination was meant to look like silk as Guangzhou was the ancient silk route hub and is a nod to the modern tattoo culture. And to enhance that history-meets-contemporary vibe, the design team made the twist and turns of the building resemble the luxe flowing material.

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To create bold imagery, SCA digitized illustrations and hand drawings by artist Zhang Hongfei and then mapped them onto the surface. It was essentially a modern form of embroidery with each image carefully placed in distinct places to provide the overall stunning visual.

Not surprisingly, the interior is unique as well. A circular auditorium is in the center of the building with various offices, rehearsal spaces, and other facilities situated around it. The auditorium itself was designed to host a water show, so it's surrounded by 360 LED screens and features 12 acrobatic hoists and three acrobatic tracks and trolleys hanging above. There's also a pool capable of being raised or lowered depending on the performance's nature. And functionally, custom hoists were created to transport large scenic items and props quickly.

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Of course, the striking exterior design is perfect for housing a center for the arts. Silk embroidery was one of the original art forms of this area, and now this new theater will welcome a new generation of artists from a variety of fields.


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