This New Guangzhou Theater Is Covered in Embroidered Silk Imagery

Anciens Huang/Courtesy Steven Chilton Architects

The architectural masterpiece will open in 2021.

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. 


Anciens Huang/Courtesy Steven Chilton Architects

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. 


Anciens Huang/Courtesy Steven Chilton Architects

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. 


Anciens Huang/Courtesy Steven Chilton Architects

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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.