Zaha Hadid Architects’ renovation of a Chinese plaza features paving like ocean waves

In a collaborative effort, FLO Landscape Design and Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) have reimagined the Chengdu MixC Public Plaza located in the Dongcheng District of China. Drawing inspiration from Zaha Hadid’s Impressionist style, the redesigned space, dubbed “The Impressionist Sea,” showcases a dynamic paving pattern that resembles the ebb and flow of the sea, achieved through the use of custom gradient tiles that align with the plaza’s thematic vision. The design’s hallmark curves seamlessly connect the vast area, creating a unified expanse, while FLO’s design philosophy enhances the space on a human level. The transformation of this public space introduces a variety of functional possibilities for its future, turning it into a vibrant hub within the 300,000 sqm commercial complex that spans four buildings. This revitalized central area now fosters the blending of diverse activities and lifestyles, marking a significant step forward in urban design and communal space utilization.

Prior to its transformation, the location struggled with challenges due to its extensive area, a monotonous experience, and its isolation from the surrounding commercial zones. Spanning an immense 50,000 square meters, with dimensions of 500 meters by 150 meters, the plaza was perceived as vast and unwelcoming, with little to draw in the public. To remedy these issues, the redesign by FLO in partnership with ZHA segmented the space into three distinct plazas and three unique streets, each designed to offer varied experiences catering to different public and commercial needs.

The centerpiece, Tide Plaza, is enlivened with patterns of blue waves across its floors, setting the stage for public gatherings such as New Year’s Eve festivities and themed markets. This Shanghai-based project includes a skateboarding area for daily entertainment. The Wave Garden introduces a sloping lawn for relaxed meet-ups, picnics, and even camping, serving both as a versatile exhibition space and a prime location for photography. At the plaza’s western edge, the Water Garden merges interactive aquatic elements with a resort-like vibe, revitalizing an otherwise neglected area into a vibrant center for performances and dining. Adjacent to this, the Garden Alley offers al fresco dining amidst lush greenery, and High Street is lined with pop-up shops and brand exhibitions. Market Street, with its avenue of trees, leads visitors towards the central plaza, providing space for market booths.