The Siam Center is a new explosive mall opposite Paragon. It is alive with interactivity, colour, movement, bold dark design and beautiful details all around.
The centre itself is actually Thailand’s first ever, opening in only 1976. It has recently remodelled and repositioned itself to appeal more to the younger generation. But on our visit there was a mix of age ranges and nationalities swarming the interesting malls and atriums.
There is activity everywhere, it felt almost like we were at an exhibition or Expo, as if something special was going on. But this was just a standard day in a centre that strives to add customer interactivity with different light and sound installations and digital interventions.
During our small tour of Asia we’ve recently been able to spend a few days back in Bangkok, giving me the chance to drag my other half around some of the many shopping centres I was recommended to visit.
We visited 5 in total, The Silom Complex, Paragon, Terminal 21, Central World and lastly Siam Center, which I have reserved for a separate post as it really blew me away.
The previous four centres all demonstrated different design and positioning strategies, but each of them followed the usual principles for shopping centre design that we would practice in the UK. They each had a fair share of theming, brand identity, contrast, moments of interest and high levels of commercialisation.
They are all designed not only for their local demographics but for a large footfall of global tourists. The Siam Center infact seemed to be the one centre that wasn’t designed primarily for tourists.
The second store from the Camper Together campaign that caught my eye is in Milan, again in collaboration with Jamie Hayon. The store features more of what is becoming further apparent as the Hayon signature style.
Handmade tables with theatrically shaped turned legs, comically themed furniture and the use of gloss materials on floors and oversized lamp shades each play their part in forming a fantastically playful theme for the store.
So you have probably read about the Silence Room snuck away within Selfridges London store. An insulated ‘inner-sanctum’ reminiscent of a padded cell to hide customers away from the noise and madness of the fast paced department store. The idea was originally conceived by the founder of Selfridges, Harry Gordon Selfridge, the purpose back then the same as it is now; enabling customers to ‘retire from the whirl of bargains and the build up of energy’.
The silence room as it appears now follows the same principles as originally intended, but the rules have to allow for a totally different ball game. Mr Selfridge did not have smart phones, ipods and other noise polluting devices to contend with back in 1909 when he originally instated the silence room. Plus the room now is not actually a completely silent haven from the rest of the store. It is next to a major walkway, by two lifts and adjacent to a cafe, noise can still quite definitely be heard from the main store.
Camper is a brand that I am constantly talking about, for my love of its continued creativity in its store design. I love the fact that brand principles are consistent in each store but that there is a new twist in each, each store has its own memorable identity. It’s not about standard roll-out.
Camper Together is a Model of Collaboration as the brand puts it. Their take on it is as follows; ”Camper Together is a model of collaboration between Camper and leading designers to create exclusive products and outstanding stores. Together responds to a new international reality that requires the capacity to integrate through design, different cultures and creative know-how into a single project together with and organization capable of communicating and distributing unique initiatives to a select global marketplace.”
The two stand out collaborations for me are with Spanish artist and designer, Jamie Hayon. His main creative studio in Valencia is where he develops his unique style focusing on blurring the lines between art, decoration and design bringing back a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture: creating furniture, product, interiors, sculptures and art Installations.
The first of a two part feature with Camper that I want to look at is the store he designed in Tokyo. It is inspired by classic Circus elements. It is straight out of a fictional film like Willy Wonka where intrigue is created by experimentation with scale, the use of fun items such as candy shaped door handles and curves to every wall and, table and surface.
Harmonic Convergance is an interactive sound and light installation created by American sound architect Christopher Janney at Miami Airport. The installation enhances the journey of passengers travelling from a car rental terminal to the main airport through a combination of light, colour and sound.
A ‘sonic portrait’ is created through speakers installed at intervals along the walkway that play sounds of tropical birds, thunderstorms and a variety of environmental noises relative to South Florida. Video sensors at either end of the walkway track movement and density of passengers moving through the space causing the composition of the sound environment to change as a response.
I recently stumbled upon this beautifully designed store by Melbourne based March Studio for Damir Doma in Paris. The brief was to follow a theme of multi layered ‘rough and refined’ as well as ‘rawness and purity’ which was the inspiration for Doma’s fashion design at the time. Doma commissioned March Studio to design the boutique store after visiting the Paris store they designed for Aesop that made them internationally recognisable.
An old and new contrast soon fell in to place meeting the criteria set out by Doma and allowing for the site to retain its layers of history. Doma wanted customers to feel like they were in his Parisian apartment. The staircase is a focal point for the store, March Studio used marble in its purest form, slabs stacked on top of one another, adding to the multilayered feel of the store. Cleverly merchandised on each tread of the wide portion of staircase and framed with a sheet of blackened steel it certainly adds plenty of drama to the space whilst contrasting sharply against the remaining natural materials and colour palette. Continue Reading
Back in 2009 Hammerson, Global Asset Owners/Managers, acquired Les Terrasses du Port, Marseille. At the time it was billed as one of the largest shopping centre developments anticipated in France. The 52,000 m² centre provides 150 stores, 2,850 car parking spaces and a 260 metre-wide restaurant terrace overlooking the sea…..and it looks amazing! The vision for it now in 2012 is breathtaking.
Burberry have continued on from the Burberry Live flagship store at London Regent Street with a new store in Hong Kong at a mall i love and blogged about some time ago, Pacific Place. The store design follows the same Live concept, but the photos hint that the fixtures and furnishings are a lighter more contemporary retail orientated position than the refined, classical premium appearance in Regent St.
In store at Pacific Place there seems to be less indication of the multi channel influence like in Regent Street, multimedia screens are replaced with a denser product offer, particularly on perimeter fixtures. The outside of the store however features light and potentially movement (it should move if it doesn’t!), lots of it in fact. The whole facade over two floors of the mall is illuminated in the famous Burberry pattern, in blue, reminding me slightly of a somewhat garish Victoria’s Secret shop front concept seen recently at Westfield Stratford in London.
Bounce London is the first site of many promised by one of the founders of All Star Lanes, a retro/boutique bowling alley in Brick Lane. The site in Holborn is verified as being the exact location where the game of ping pong was first created in 1901.
The inside is everything you would expect of a trendy East London venue, it is fantastically themed and the place and its staff know that it is in fashion even only a couple of months after opening. The main area is split between a saloon style bar with theatrical red curtain and a restaurant on an upper level, all beneath a white sprayed warehouse ceiling.