When XING Design was commissioned to revamp the Yuyuan Station on Shanghai’s Metro Line 14, local authorities gave them a difficult task: no structural changes could be made to the walls, columns, or floors. With basically only the ceilings left to work with, the designers transformed them into an LED light show with serious wow factor.

Renovated Yuyuan Station ceilings by XING Design glow an ethereal aqua color.

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Renovated Yuyuan Station ceilings by XING Design glow a bold orange color.

Renovated Yuyuan Station ceilings by XING Design glow an ethereal blue color.

Located in the heart of city next to the Chénghuángmiào (or City God Temple) and Bund waterfront area, Yuyuan Station is an essential transportation hub for passengers traversing Shanghai’s 2,400-square-mile area. It is especially important for delivering tourists to nearby cultural landmarks. While the busy metro station was once simply a place to wait, XING’s renovations have transformed it into an immersive, entertaining experience.

XING Design's wave-like LED lights for Shanghai's Yuyuan metro station.

With the help of a specialized design software, the architects cut, bent, and spliced together thousands of aluminum sheets in wave patterns. They were then suspended in cascading swells, adapting their shapes to fit perfectly between support columns. The resulting undulations are reminiscent of both the waves of the neighboring City God Temple and the ripples of the Huangpu River, which flows above the metro station.

Because Yuyuan is the deepest-underground station on the line, bringing ample light to the space was crucial. The waved ceiling panels were fitted with customized LED lighting that courses through a program of colors, pulsating like the symbolic heartbeat of the city the station has come to represent. The lights ebb and flow from one bright hue to the next, moving in sync with the rhythms of passenger traffic.

Wave-like LED lights in Shanghai's renovated Yuyuan metro station form a heart shape against a reflective wall.

Renovated Yuyuan Station ceilings by XING Design glow a vibrant pink color.

The LEDs can be programmed to perform specific color and pattern sequences for special occasions and holidays. Chinese Red throbs overhead for National Day and the Spring Festival, while pinks and other floral colors flash on Valentine’s Day.

Renovated Yuyuan Station ceilings by XING Design emit a bright white light.

XING Design has been creating innovative designs in the realms of architecture, interiors, landscape, and urban planning since it was founded in 2016. The name has a double meaning, being both the moniker of its founder, Xing Xiong, as well as a common abbreviation for “crossing.” The studio’s work has frequently been at the intersection of different disciplines, finding inventive solutions all across the creative spectrum.

Shanghai metro passengers board trains underneath the magnificent LED ceilings of the renovated Yuyuan station.

Xiong brought extensive training and experience with him to XING Design. After obtaining a bachelors and master’s degree in architecture from Tsinghua Univsersity in Beijing, he went on to earn another master’s degree in architecture from Harvard. Before founding his own firm, he worked for notable companies like Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, BIG in Copenhagen, and UNStudio in Amsterdam.

XING Design has completed numerous noteworthy urban architecture projects, but they are also well-known for their art installations. The Yuyuan metro station beautifully embodies the firm’s name with a design at the crossroads of art and functionality. It went on to be a jury winner in the 2022 Architizer A+ Awards category of Transport Interiors.