Starhill Gallery \ Spark

• April 11, 2012

Starhill Gallery is perhaps Kuala Lumpur’s most iconic shopping mall, featuring an extraordinary array of luxury shops and fine dining restaurants. Spark’s design proposal dealt with the reinvention of the existing façade of Starhill Gallery facing Bukit Bintang. This reinvention of Starhill Gallery is designed by Stephen Pimbley, founding director of Spark and the architect behind Singapore’s hugely popular Clarke Quay.

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Starhill Gallery, image courtesy Spark

Unlike many street-facing malls in Kuala Lumpur, our new façade for Starhill Gallery is firmly engaged with the public realm and generates valuable visual connections along this section of Bukit Bintang via the heavy footfall. We have designed a beacon for Starhill Gallery that celebrates its relationship with the city.


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Starhill Gallery, image courtesy Spark

Spark’s design has opened up the façade which provides a lot of visual interest via a continuous shop front that wraps the existing building in a crystalline skin of glass and stone panels. The new façade resembles the “wet drapery” of the ancient statues of Greece and Rome, and the beautifully crafted gowns on sale inside Starhill Gallery. The fractured variation of solidity and transparency transforms the street façade of the existing building entirely, giving it a new contemporary classic identity that stands out amongst the quick-fix, ubiquitous shopping mall façades of many of Starhill Gallery’s neighbours.

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Starhill Gallery, image courtesy Spark

Spark’s lightweight steel, stone and glass façade is the first of their kind in Malaysia that embraces cutting-edge façade technology from the French engineer RFR, the team that delivered the Pyramid at the Paris Louvre.

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Starhill Gallery, image courtesy Spark

Spark replaced the café at the entrance of Starhill Gallery with an iconic triple height shopping pavilion for the French luxury retailer LVMH and their cosmetics brand Sephora.

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Starhill Gallery, image courtesy Spark

Sephora is, in turn, connected to Starhill via a first floor bridge that pierces the new crystalline façade. Spark, together with YTL, has deliberately crafted a complex building envelope using only the best materials that resonate with the importance of the building’s position and contribution to the streetscape of Kuala Lumpur. The synergy with high quality of the brands/products, as well as special visitor experience inside Starhill Gallery is undeniable.

Starhill Gallery’s new crystalline façade and the Sephora pavilion have effectively established an iconic new identity for Starhill Gallery, affirming its position as the foremost destination for luxury shopping in Southeast Asia.

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Starhill Gallery - Ground floor plan, drawing courtesy Spark

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Starhill Gallery - Section, drawing courtesy Spark

+ Project Data

Architects: Spark |
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Principal Architect: Stephen Pimbley
Project Architect: Michael Gibert
Team: Darmaganda, Kim-Lee Tan, Sevena Lee, Wenhui Lim
Local Architect: A. Mariadass Architect
Lighting Designer: Snfor Sdn Bhd
Structural Consultant: RFR Shanghai
Main Contractor: Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd (SPYTL)
M&E: Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd (SPYTL)

Building Area: 2,000 sqm
Design Period: April 2009 to August 2010
Construction Period: September 2010 to July 2011

+ About Spark

Spark is an international design studio with proven expertise in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design. Having successfully completed award-winning projects across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Spark continues to create buildings and environments that inspire, informing and transforming public spaces. Its work strives to employ the best sustainable practices, is driven by social inclusion and underpinned by financial viability. Spark works closely with clients to create projects that combine innovation and environmental responsibility alongside commercial success for their local economies. Spark’s completed work includes Clarke Quay in Singapore, Raffles City in Beijing, Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur and the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal.

Led by five directors; Jan Clostermann, John Curran, Max Titchmarsh, Stephen Pimbley and Sven Steiner; Spark’s international expertise is fused with local talent embracing 16 nationalities across offices in London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore.

+ All images and drawings courtesy Spark

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Category: Architecture, Commercial, Selected

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