Shanghai Tower unveils world’s highest art space

(CNN)Ever since its completion last year, the Shanghai Tower has been the second tallest building on earth — just behind the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Soon it will have another accolade to its name.
The 2,073 feet (632 meter) tall tower is opening the highest art space in the world. Located on the 126th floor of this 128-story building, it will feature an immersive auditory experience designed to serenade visitors to Shanghai.


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Grammy-winning composer and producer Simon Franglen, who is behind famous theme songs from Hollywood blockbusters “Avatar” and “Titanic”, was commissioned to create the symphony that will play in this venue.

Top of the world


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So why a symphony for a skyscraper?
The inspiration, it seems, was the view.
“I have been at the top of many of the big buildings in the world, and this is something different,” Franglen tells CNN. “(It is truly) like something from another world.”
From the top of the twisted tower, visitors have panoramic views of Shanghai, including its historic Bund waterfront area.


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“They’re above you, they’re below you, they’re everywhere,” he says.
“If I want to put (the sound of) a bell in front of your face, I can — because we’re using a unique sound system that allows me to put music in free space,” he says, referring to the unusual aural experience created by strategic loudspeaker placement.
“The sounds spin around in the space,” he adds. “What I’ve done is written a piece of music that allows you to walk around inside it.”
The music was performed by four orchestras, comprising 240 players, and features a 48 voice-strong choir, 60 drums and 55 bells. The four orchestral parts interlock in a complex manner.
“One section of the orchestra would play one set of the notes, another set would play another — and they would play against each other, so that they’re almost competing in the three-dimensional space.”
Franglen says different versions of the piece, varying in length, will be played in the space throughout the year. A six to seven minute-long version will be played to new visitors, to give them a sense of the experience, while a 20-minute composition is also in place for special events.
The space will also feature a viewing gallery, where the building’s tuned mass damper — which stablizes the tower, and is normally hidden out of sight — can be seen.

Cultural heart

Franglen calls the symphonic suite “one of the most exciting projects” he has ever worked on.
The opening date of the art space and ticket prices are yet to be announced, but it is intended to be the heart of cultural happenings in the tower.
“I hope that in the future other places build these types of installations and will realize culture is really important,” he says.
“The work Shanghai Tower is trying to do, which is to think more than just in terms of commerce, is really special.”

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