Sunday, September 26, 2010

Designing an Indian Mall

The many new malls that are mushrooming around the country have almost identical architectural facades and layouts. This sameness is in stark constrast to the country itself. In the largest and most diverse gathering of people under a single nation-state in the world, one expects diversity, not uniformity. The challenge is to resurrect what is Indian from the history of shopping environments in this land, and to introduce the familiarity of that experience into the modern retail space.

Our understanding of shopping behaviour of customers in a mall environment will also depend on how Indians have shopped until now in a bazaar environment. How can we design an amenable mall that understands the concept of familiarity that the new Indian shop must be based on and also ensures profit for the Indian entrepreneur?

The STREET Concept for an Indian Mall

The concept design for a mall included here proposes a sheltered environment for a series of smaller mall blocks roofed over together. The new design recommends bringing in the vibrancy of an Indian street into a modern Indian shop that has the efficiency of a “Singapore mall” and yet offers creative freedom to the vendors in the way spaces and displays can alter themselves within the informal central spine that connects the more formal spaces.

This blogpost is a part of an article I wrote recently for an architectural journal. For the full article, refer to  'Indian Architect & Builder' Vol 23 (11), July 2010, Business Press Pvt.Ltd., Mumbai


radha said...

There the bigger brands do not feel threatened by the local vendors. Here we do not have such a mix within a mall. Malls like to be exclusive outlets for a particular crowd.
Also, the connectivity could also add to it. You can walk into the stores right from the station or via the foot over bridge.

Indian Bazaars said...

That's true. Here, malls like to be exclusive outlets. In Bangalore, the "UB city" has global brands such as Montblanc, Alfred Dunhill, Moschino and Toscano, for instance. The design of the mall itself reflects an architecture that could be anywhere in the world - New York, Shanghai or elsewhere.