They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the adage doesn’t exactly fly when it comes to proprietary architectural designs. A stealthy investigation by Curbed has uncovered that Chinese developer Wide Horizon seems to be a huge fan of Herzog and de Meuron‘s Jenga-esque 56 Leonard Street tower in New York City. In fact, it can be argued that many features of the company’s new development in Chengdu, China look like they were basically “borrowed” from the downtown NYC building.
Called the Krystal Laputa, the Chengdu complex was designed by California-based 5+design. Though its similarity to 56 Leonard is pretty undeniable, the Chinese project differs in that it comprises three high-rise towers and mid-rise buildings totaling some 150,000 square meters. The massive mini-neighborhood also includes a sky park, a fitness center, a full spa and a 4,000-square-meter penthouse.
A representative from Wide Horizon wrote to Curbed to explain that the Chinese project was, in fact, inspired by “modernist villas found throughout the storied Tribeca“, but highlighted the Chinese version’s unique amenities. “Each of the two-to-three bedroom units has its own back yard, its own pool and its own separate casita that can be used as office or guest house. The idea was to create a community that reaches up 30 stories and not only affords the most luxurious type of lifestyle but also merges sustainable design.”
What do you think? Blatant knockoff or just a coincidence?