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Beaugrenelle Shopping Mall, Paris

The Beaugrenelle shopping mall in Paris has been visioned by French architects Agence Search. The real ‘feature’ to their pitch winning design is giant elliptical lattices. The shopping centre at 5 storey’s in height will have these woven timber structures piercing through the two atriums located at each end of the shopping centre.

Footbridges and escalators intersect the suspended timber lattices creating what the architects call a “wow effect” The shopping centre is due to open its doors in Spring 2013 and will feature Marks and Spencer’s as one of its anchor stores, some 10 years after M&S withdrew all of its stores from France.

I cant wait to see if this is actually built. I have moved in to large format retail asset enhancement in the design agency where i work. This is basically the refresh, redesign and enhancement of shopping centres, so this is a really interesting one for me. Large scale interventions in the form of sculptures, suspended mobiles, lighting features and digital displays are always something we consider, but this lattice structure proposed in the Beaugrenelle shopping mall seems too heavy. There is transparency and sight lines across the malls are not completely obscured but for me the structure is too imposing and acts like too much of a barrier around the mall edges.

The purpose of an atrium in a shopping centre is usually to allow daylight in to a mall and whilst the shapes are interesting and will cast some cool shadows on the mall floors it could get quite dark and oppressive in there! The main lattice structure then has further lattice panels making the seemingly large appetures from a distance quite dense and cage like.

Like i say i look forward to seeing this finished next year and reading about the publics reaction, reviews of these proposal images I found on Dezeen have not all been kind.

Wow factor, yes, just not sure it is a positive one.