In the early 1990s, the tallest building in Shanghai was the 24-floor Park Hotel, an art deco relic built in 1934.
Now as night falls on Pudong, east of the Huangpu River, stratospheric towers light up one by one in a dazzling display of neon, LED and shimmering screened images.
The most mesmerizing newcomer to the skyline is the 128-story Shanghai Tower, which became at the time the world’s second tallest building when it was completed in 2015.
This futuristic new skyscraper glows green, then purple, then yellow, then red as it curls to a height of more than 2,000 feet – an exclamation mark on land that was swamp and farmland little more than two decades ago.
As Shanghai continues to spawn such science fiction-worthy architecture, it’s no wonder that its present has come to double as the future in films such as the Academy Award winning “Her” and the Bruce Willis blockbuster “Looper.”
A trip to this destination nowadays may change your idea of the future, and we’ve captured some of the most surreal scenes.
Dave Tacon is a Walkley Award-winning photographer and writer based in Shanghai.