Design has a higher purpose that goes well beyond creating something that is pretty to look at. When it comes to shopping centres, design is about adapting to the shoppers’ functional, emotional, psychological and social needs. Talking on the theme of just how design can contribute in making mall spaces more enjoyable, the eminent panelists at, a session at India Shopping Centre Forum 2015, talked about the intricacies in how design can empower and create a differentiator for the shopping centres.
The marquee panelists, for this the concluding session of day 1, were Jeremy Salmon, Asia Pacific Board, Broadway Malyan; Anoop Bartaria, CMD, World Trade Park; MA Mehboob, Director, Hilite Builders; Pramod Ranjan Dwivedi, Head Marketing, Ambuja Realty; Sanjeev Mehra, VP, Quest Mall; and Shibani Jain, Founder & CEO, Baaya Design. The session was moderated by Vishal Mirchandani, CEO, Retail and Commercial, Brigade Enterprises.
Vishal Mirchandani started the session by asking Shibani Jain what she thought the core purpose of design in malls was. To this, Jain, replied that, “While it is important to create design elements for the proper shopping atmosphere but more than that designer needs to look beyond shopping and should create non-commercial propositions in the mall that can further accentuate shopping.”
Elaborating on this Sanjeev Mehra, said, “As far as design is concerned it should be functional. It is important to know whom we are making the mall for. Mall design needs to make the mall visitor feel comfortable, because if a visitor will feel at ease he will like it and will stay there for a longer time in a mall.” Mirchandani then asked MA Mehboob on his perspective on the importance of design for new age shopping centres. Mehboob answered that, “The paradigms of consumer behaviour are changing. Now it is not only about shopping, people come to a mall to spend longer times, malls need to become more experiential and design has a big role to play in the experience. I also feel that for mall visitors the convenience is of utmost importance and for that it is necessary that the convenience factor needs to be interbred with the design aspect.”
Talking about adding local zing to the mall design, PR Dwivedi said that “When we design our malls we keep the local aspects of that particular area as an integral focus area. We create public spaces, celebration squares and also add a lot of natural twists to the mall. These may be artificial water bodies and lots of greenery not just outside but within the doors of the mall too.”
Jeremy Salmon felt that, “When thinking about design, it is important to create a differentiating experience and a unique atmosphere for the mall visitors.”
Anoop Bartaria, himself a creative person, had a much stronger take on design. He opined that, “The differentiation that design can create can virtually change the functionality of the mall, it can elevate the whole spirit of the mall. Design can help people in fulfilling their aspiration. If we can secure culture at the same time and also live up to the aspirations of the people, then we do full justice to all our patrons.”