Zhuhai Opera House,

The lighting brief was to respond to the unique twin scallop shell structure, the maritime location, and the cultural heritage of the site as a former pearl fishing town – the name Zhuhai literally translates as ‘Pearl Sea’.
Zhuhai Tourist Board + Guangdong Ministry of Culture
Prof. Chen Keshi (Urban Design Center of China, Peking University)
Executive Architect
Executive Lighting Designer
Beijing United Artists
Getty Images
Paul Coles
Project Team
Keith Bradshaw, Philip Rose, Hiroto Toyoda

The striking Zhuhai Opera House, conceived by the Urban Design Centre of China, Peking University and delivered by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, has recently been completed on an island just off the mainland.

We took inspiration from the colours and textures associated with this heritage: the lustre of mother-of-pearl, the graduated translucency of a shell, and the way light appears when viewed through rippling water.”

Translating these ideas to the Opera, we proposed that the full surface of each of the four faces should glow; enlivened by animated lighting content that would create a remarkable iridescent effect.

The ability to adapt the animated content offers the city a means to connect culturally with the local people and visitors. Light becomes a means to communicate and engage, with the option to create light and sound experiences that share with the public something of the performances being undertaken within.