Unicorn Island . Chengdu

OMA . Unicorn Island . Chengdu (1)


OMA’s design for Unicorn Island in Chengdu, China, has been selected as a winning entry in an international design competition. The ambitious design competition, initiated by the Chengdu Government, has the potential to become a symbol of China’s changing economy.


Unicorn Island is an innovative masterplan specifically designed for New Economy companies, which are a key driver of China’s economic transition from a production oriented to a knowledge and service based economy. The masterplan contains a wide repertoire of working and living conditions and is specifically designed for both start-up tech companies and established Unicorn companies (companies with a value of 1B USD).

Developed to function as creative incubator, the island is organized into three rings. At the heart of the project is the Living Lab, an ‘Innovation Engine’ for the companies, which is also open to visitors to experience the otherwise invisible world of the New Economy. Branching out from this core is the weave zone, a village-like development which houses a mix of different office types, a residential program and amenities providing a creative environment with generous opportunities for informal encounters. The perimeter of the island is formed by the headquarters of the Unicorn companies, the ultimate state of a tech company. Their headquarters can blossom at the outer circle of the weave along the waterfront.

The project further develops OMA’s recent work which challenges the workspace of the digital industry, such as the design for the new Axel Springer HQ in Berlin.

OMA collaborated on this project with traffic consultants MIC and climate engineers Transsolar. The design was led by OMA’s Partner & Director of OMA Asia, Chris van Duijn.

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