In the United States, the process of obtaining a marriage license – and even the subsequent wedding, should the bride and groom choose a civil ceremony – isn’t exactly a glamorous affair. But in Shenzen, China, couples have a new option that’s appropriately celebratory. The Nanshan Marriage Registration Center looks like it’s been showered with confetti.
The architecture firm Urbanus wanted to take marriage registration from cold and impersonal registry offices to a place that feels more aligned with the nature of the deed. Now, wedding parties get to arrive and depart via long narrow bridges over a shimmering pool of water that reflects the building, making it look twice as high as it really is from certain angles.
The structure has a gridded aluminum curtain wall that’s set with small square panels that give it a glittery appearance. The interior is mostly white and curved, with the sunlight that streams through the skin making dreamy patterns on the walls and floors.
“A key point of this design is to discover how to organize the personal ceremonial experience,” the architects say. “A continuous spiral shows part of the process in the whole sequence—’arriving, approaching to the wedding hall with the focus of relatives, photographing, waiting, registering, ascending, overlooking, issuing, descending slope, passing the water pool, and reuniting with relatives’.”