Robinsons’ flagship department store brings a brand new retail experience into town.
13 December, 2013
It’s not every day that a new mall opens in Singapore’s prime shopping district, so the unveiling of Robinsons’ new 180,000sqft flagship mall is significant news.
In designing the new Robinsons mall, designphase dba has revisited the archetype of department stores and reinvented this for a contemporary audience.
Joris Angevaare, Design Director at designphase dba and design lead for this project, says, “Our partnership with Robinsons was inspiring from the first day. Our collaboration with the Robinsons team to define the departmental shopping experience in Singapore through reinterpretation and contemporising traditional ‘archetypal’ design elements and ‘remixing’ them with new edgy lifestyle influences, was truly energising.”
He adds, “It was essential for shoppers to read each of the six levels as part of a narrative, like chapters of a fascinating book. Each one is very different in merchandising and design, but it never feels out of context.”
As part of the concept, designphase dba strategically deployed the ‘frame’, a contemporary interpretation of traditional displays, such as the Armoire wardrobe, stripped to their most minimal, recognisable outlines. The frame elements suggest their traditional heritage in a modern way, providing the merchandise with a stage on which to shine.
The interiors feature a soft palette, with marble, terrazzo, steel, timber and veneer, as well as an edginess in contrasting old with new, black with white, and dashes of punchy colours.
The environment also feels spacious, open and full of light, emphasised through the opening of the facade to great views of Orchard Road in both directions. The skylit central atrium with its penetration of natural light, contributes fundamentally to the sense of airiness and the stretching of sight lines.
Other notable features include a 25-metre-high “I.Rain” installation by Thierry Gaugain – the tallest and largest installation of its kind in the world. This incredible chandelier features 1,300 Organic Light Emitting Diodes, creating the impression of rain frozen in time. It is suspended from above the centre atrium and is visible from the ground floor all the way up to the skylight.
“Each individual customer will find their own favourite corner of the store. The layout promotes deep circulation, with vistas of interest in product displays, captivating backdrops, stunning views, and visual merchandising elements and techniques,” says Joris Angevaare.
“The quality of materials, variety of product, sense of openness, narrative in the design and a couple of exciting surprises, all combine to offer a fresh, new approach to the department store landscape of Asia,” he says.
Photography © Ian F Gibb
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