600-Foot Office Block Now A Night-Time Billboard Along Shanghai Riverfront

January 14, 2022 by Dave Haynes

China is run JUST a bit differently than much of the world, so I don’t know that what happens there translates to other countries, where things like zoning bylaws, impact assessments and approvals are common – but this video from LED manufacturer Unilumin provides a pretty compelling sense of the possible for city skylines.

It is in Shanghai, which competes effectively with Dubai for the global title of City With Most Insane Skyline.

In this case, the focus is on a conventional office tower occupied by Citigroup, which uses a tighter pitch semi-transparent Unilumin LED display on the top floors, and then bands of lower-resolution semi-transparent LEDs on the riverfront side of the building (so that office occupants don’t lose their coveted view.

Unilumin says it is the largest multimedia LED display in China – a 180-meter-high tower with some 8,000 sq. meters of LED cladding it. As you will see in the video below, it is one of several buildings with semi-transparent LED faces, and this is a broader trend in Chinese cities, where multiple office towers double as media facades – sometimes sync’d between buildings.

I have mixed feelings. The scale is remarkable and the visual impact big. Times Square would not be crammed with tourists if there weren’t all those LED signs everywhere, and all those lit-up buildings get captured endlessly in photos along the Shanghai riverfront. I’d like to see it, take a photo, but then walk away.

It’s a different story if you live there, have a great and VERY expensive view of, perhaps, lower Manhattan from across the river in Brooklyn. Would you like the office lights of those towers replaced by giant, ever-flashing  billboards that line the riverfront side of the buildings?


  1. Jeff Grandell says:

    Looks like the only thing new is that very top Citigroup portion. That full building has been lit up for sometime. I was there 7 years ago and enjoyed the dichotomy of the old side of the river (the Bund) and its older European influenced architecture vs. Pudong with all its LED displays. Amazingly, all of those buildings are only 20yrs old or less. This would never happen along East River, or Hudson. They cant run a barge with a sign down the Huson without major complaints.

    1. Dave Haynes says:

      Oh interesting! Thanks Jeff.

      Yes, there would be a huge bun-fight over this sort of thing lining the East or Hudson rivers across from Manhattan. But we should assume there are entrepreneurs and building owners at minimum asking questions about it in western countries.

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