Nowadays, retail has become sorely monotonous—with malls being the same everywhere selling the same brands, same labels. There is no community space, and the Green mall does little to satisfy the idea of ‘eco’.
At one time, walkways were ‘streets’; atria were ‘squares’. There was little air-conditioning—wind and humidity pass through freely and shoppers did not seem to mind. Malls eventually became generic and gave way to a mass-market mentality.
So we, the editorial team, set out to look for retail experiences with a difference.
Some malls, we found, have returned to their roots as an urban intervention. Namba Parks in Osaka, Japan is a wonderful example of how a big building becomes part of a network. From canyon-like streets to terraced roofscapes, this is a mini neighbourhood that plugs into wider neighbourhoods. Not all malls, though, have the luxury of size. Kurve 7 in Bangkok is tiny by comparison but it too aspires to recreate the High Street. Here, being small has its advantages: intimacy is important to community space.
Other malls challenge the cliché of the air-conditioned box. Dilli Haat is more a bazaar than a mall—a concept that feels at home in Asia. This ethereal clustering of umbrellas and timber shafts makes perfect sense in the heat of the North Indian summer.
Bazaar is also a good way to describe Kilang Bateri in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an exuberant example of adaptive reuse. What is doubly nice about Kilang Bateri is its commitment to the local: craft, food and produce. Three other projects from Japan—Namba Parks, OKOMEYA and Blue Bottle Coffee Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Roastery & Café—work hard at capturing localness by creating spaces for farming or making visible the love of rice and coffee.
For all these stories and more, visit http://www.futurarc.com.
FuturArc’s 10th anniversary poll
In celebration of our 10th anniversary this year, we would like to ask you to vote for your favourite stories from our magazine over the past years and tell us why you like FuturArc! We will reprint the most popular stories and heartfelt testimonials in a special edition of FuturArc: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FuturArc_10th_Anniversary_Issue