SKP Chengdu,

Within a greenbelt site in China, SKP Chengdu is the largest ever sustainable luxury retail masterplan. Lighting plays a key role in activating the site at night, making the park feel comfortable and attractive while providing visual cues to the retail beneath.
Landscape Architect
James Corner Field Operations
Façade Engineer
Eckersley O’Callaghan
Water Feature Design
The Fountain Workshop
Project Team
Keith Bradshaw, Benz Roos, Justyna Ashcroft, Marina Andronescu

Canyon-like avenues cut into the landscape and connect the half-a-million square metres of submerged retail environments known as SKP-N (North) and SKP-S (South). These are encircled at park level by lit handrails, providing a buffer between the landscape and the retail and assisting with wayfinding and orientation.

With multiple ways to descend, each entranceway has its own character. The open stair is a grand descent, lit simply by light along the handrail, keeping the focus firmly on the retail vista head. Several escalator entrances feature backlit shimmering mirrored wall panels and eccentric linear roof lights, supporting a glamorous, lively transition.

Created in just over three years, SKP Chengdu is a dense, walkable, mixed-use development connected by road and rail lines to the city and airport. ”


At ground level, it appears as a vast civic park, taking the form of a ‘botanical quilt’ of 33 crafted landscapes and scenic spots. The lighting design for this space has two primary aims – to make its varying zones feel legible, comfortable and accessible after dark while also creating enticing visual cues to attract people to the retail and hospitality beneath. Mindful of retaining its luxuriant green character, the lighting of the landscape elements is carefully controlled. Bespoke fixtures create contrast, giving rise to a stylish ‘outdoor film set’ feel, interspersed with memorable moments and subtle highlights to the pavilion entrances. 

One major moment is the spectacular colour-change lighting for the six ‘Tower of Life’ water-spewing beacon sculptures that rise to 39m above ground; another is the stunning glazed Central Cube that provides access to the metro network. Here, light creates a beautiful glow with gentle animation in the water-washed glass but equally provides vital functional light for wayfinding and orientation. 

The ‘Tower of Life’ sit above SKP-S

Light sequence


Once below, the lighting design for the common spaces, avenues and concourses continues to elegantly reinforce the powerful branding inherent in the SKP design language.

Details are fully integrated, and the lighting focuses on enhancing the signature curved surface elements, ‘folded’ textured façade details, and revealing the material qualities of key vertical surfaces. This ensures that, although underground, the spaces feel positive, luxurious and full of character while allowing the merchandise to remain the primary focus.


SKP-S is also home to a fabulous bespoke light feature. ‘The Supernova’ is inspired by stars, planets, gravitational waves and the connection of time and space. A massive 8 metres in diameter, it consists of 3 layers of triangular perforated panels that move and rotate about a giant luminous hemisphere, creating a mesmerising other-worldly effect.

While SKP-N is the high-end retail zone, SKP-S is the more cutting-edge, fashion-forward zone. Here, the design is more brutalist, and the lighting reflects this with more monochromatic light and an industrial aesthetic. 

Development sketches