Electronic sports have come a long way since video games like Pong, and so have the expectations of players who are abandoning living rooms and Internet cafes for slick, dedicated spaces such as the XU Studio-designed Panda V flagship in Shanghai.
“The client and designer’s ambitious vision was to elevate competitive video gaming from dank back rooms to mass entertainment,” says XU partner Sabrina Xu. Not to mention, given the ground-up project’s 8,900 square feet of white glass and black mirror, channeling the neo-noir of Blade Runner. “The design is inspired by science fiction,” she notes.
The entertainment complex accommodates more than 100 players and includes a juice bar, a gaming room bisected by atomized glass into competition and training areas, and a screening room wrapped by digital displays on three sides. Throughout, angular LED strips, wing-shape pendants, and gradient film bring kinetic charge to the scenography. Cinematic? Indeed.