Trends in the architecture of the shopping center
Architecture of shopping centers as a reflection of the surrounding reality
The architecture of trade was not only a projection of the general state of the economy, but also reflected public sentiment. Analyzing trends in the design of shopping facilities, it is necessary to talk about this in the context of the entire state of world trade.
Now we are witnessing the rapid development of various online retail formats. With the advent and strengthening of e-commerce, the role and importance of physical shopping centers in modern society began to decline. This is not a quick but inevitable process.
In their desire to attract an elusive client, developers began to expand public spaces, allocating them more space, strengthen the entertainment component, sorting out new tenant formats. Also, various promotions, special events and concerts have become more frequent in modern retail facilities. There was a need for more intensive use of atriums. The owners of regional shopping malls, who realized that literally in the blink of an eye their assets were outdated, began to think about their reconstruction. It can be predicted that architects will be increasingly in demand in this segment of the retail real estate market. They will be able to develop recipes for rethinking objects without the need for their dismantling.
The search marathon for new formats contributed to the development of the most unexpected combinations for TC. In various facilities, conceptual fitness centers, dance clubs, pottery workshops, etc. began to open. In a sense, an unprecedented race of originality and one who has more unexpected and unusual entertainment will turn out lately. The scale of the competition is proportional to the size and cost of the facilities. If in small regional centers developers compete in the originality of children’s rooms, interactive spaces, etc., then in super-regional projects we are talking about oceanariums and planetariums.
And all this is only at the initial stages of the development of online retail, which only becomes a full-fledged part of the functioning of modern society. Next comes the stage of maturity, which means that the most significant transformations are yet to come. In the future, the need to rethink the culture of the mall itself will mature.
If you pay attention to European standards, then Russia’s achievements in terms of saturation of retail space look modest. For example, the average value for the volume of retail space per 1000 people in our country does not reach 300 sq. M. m. The average European level is 700-800 square meters. Russia has room to grow in this regard, but this does not mean that the necessary growth will go only in a quantitative format.
Predicting industry development in any field is always quite difficult. We often build our hypotheses based on existing and available technologies. But it is important to remember that they are developing exponentially. In one of the realistic scenarios of the development of retail of the future, there will be a place for a new type of hybrid spaces. These should be comfortable facilities that support the existing urban environment or give birth to a new environment. They can be buildings where there is a trading function, but it does not prevail and dominates the space, but harmoniously complements leisure.
Shopping Center of the Future
Most next-generation buyers will not be interested in standard product counters. They are easily replaced with electronic services, mobile applications, augmented reality systems. Visitors to shopping malls will be waiting for a special experience, a sense of community, communication with like-minded people.
The retail of the future is for the most part technological showrooms where you can get the most complete picture of the product and the brand. Combination with virtual and augmented reality will connect offline and online environments into a single whole.
Of course, form must also follow the change of meaning. Architecture will play an increasing role. The development of this trend can be observed now. Just close your eyes and imagine almost any major shopping complex 15-20 years ago, and then fresh projects. In the future, multilayer high-tech structures covered by parks will displace hangars without natural light with endless rows of counters. Retail should be a place of relaxation, recreation and nature.
Naturally, the financial side of the issue cannot be avoided. In each individual case, the implementation of such multifaceted projects will require a particularly careful miscalculation of the economy, construction time, and payback. However, this trend can also be called part of the evolution of the approach to the concept of retail. And in this matter, architects have something to think about and what to declare in the coming years.