In this article, we present design ideas and shopping mall innovation and planning in the Far East and in Europe to inspire mall operators and management teams to consider re-engineering the mall format.
Innovative brand experiences in mall design incorporate value-added elements that attempt to address the convenience of online purchasing and to recast the mall as the new downtown hub. These facilities include concert spaces, art centres, spas, fitness clubs, food halls, nightclubs, cinemas and even a farmer's market. The desired outcome is to make sure visitors, whether they be couples, families, or a group of friends won't leave the mall for another venue because there is so much to entertain them and the mall services provide a rich level of leisure entertainment that online services do not satisfy.
The objective is to attract and keep more people in a shopping mall for longer periods of time, everything from the "fashion, leisure entertainment and food ambience, to the signage and circulation" is designed to make a huge difference to the duration of a visitors stay.
Even malls that are enclosed are now incorporating more natural landscaping into their design, installing plants and trees, wood walls and floors, water features and lots of glass to let in natural light. The developers of the Siam Paragon in Bangkok bought into this idea and introduced vertical landscaping in the entrance area of their Mall.
It is critical that malls be about much more than retail stores. The mix of tenant/public space moving from the current 70/30 to 60/40, or even toward 50/50.
Mixed used developments offer consumers an attractive, integrated community in which to live, work and shop. They also serve to generate additional traffic for the malls while maximizing returns on invested capital. Other commercial real estate opportunities that can add alternative revenue streams are hotels, office buildings and airports.
The most innovative malls today look nothing like their predecessors. Although location remains the key real estate consideration for mall developers, a differentiated design and structure are increasingly important. Mixed-Use open-air malls go a long way toward lending an atmosphere of a town centre. Many of the malls being built in urban areas are open and fully integrated with the landscape. The Cabot Circus Shopping Centre in Bristol, England has a unique shell-shaped glass roof. Incorporating environmental sustainability considerations, the mall is accessible by public transportation and features a rainwater harvesting system etc.
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