For those fortunate enough to experience it, the home, the car, the hotel and even the office have been transformed into luxurious vortexes of splendour. The belief that if you’re able to buy exclusive products, means that you’ll also want to shop in equally opulent, luxury retail surroundings as well, is true.
Before shopping had even become a popular past time, shops located in certain areas of towns and cities, stocked lavish goods and dominated the high-end market. However, this model has slowly changed and evolved. In the nineties, large, out of town shopping developments like Bluewater were built across the UK and hinted at new trends and behaviour. While self-contained luxury shops and department stores still exist, many designer brands have opened their own stores in malls across the globe.
Following the financial crash of 2007-08, these malls and the Omni-channels of the internet have largely replaced the traditional high street. The ‘mall model’ has since spread accross Europe, Asia and beyond, becoming a standard of shopping. Since then, many have been built with a few examples innovating and redefining the retail design and experience, specialising in exquisite indulgence. By creating breath-taking luxury retail spaces, you not only add to the spectacle, but you also further enhance a user’s experience and create the perfect aroma for a pleasant shopping environment.
Daedalian Glass Studios have proven pedigree and expert knowledge of working with luxury shopping marketeers, brand designers and companies. Examples of our work in this sector include projects such as; the ‘Harry Gordon’s Bar’ in Selfridges, and ‘The Samsung Home Innovation Luxury Living Space by Kelly Hoppen’ and Linley projects, in Harrods, both in London.
Here we take a brief look at a handful of the most exclusive luxury retail environments from around the world and figure out what makes them stand out from the crowd.
Villaggio Mall, Doha, Qatar
The Villagio Mall in Doha, Qatar, was originally opened in 2006 with a refurbishment in 2012 following a fire. The mall itself currently has over 200 stores occupying 125,000 square metres. The Gondolania Theme Park, an indoor theme park which contains an ice rink, a bowling centre and several rides/rollercoasters are also part of the complex.
The Villagio is largely open air and represents a prestigious hybrid of leisure and shopping facilities. Designed in an Italian renaissance style, it features a 150metre canal, complete with Gondola rides.
Around 50,000 people a day visit the mall and its affiliates. The shops include famous names and brands such as Burberry, Dior, Prada and Versace.
Bal Harbour Mall, Miami, United States of America
Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in Miami, Florida, the Bal Harbour Mall was first opened in 1965. The mall represents the most luxurious of shopping opportunities to inhabitants of, and visitors to Miami. Plants, trees and ponds, populated with Koi Carp, rest underneath the Florida sky adding to the calming nature of this expansive, open-air mall.
Set over 2 floors, it has approximately 100 stores making up a total of 42,000 square metres of luxury retail space. Plans to expand by another 31,500 square metres, were approved in 2017.
Despite its relatively modest amount of shops, the malls current tenants include high end brands such as Agent Provocateur, Balenciaga, Chanel, Tom Ford, Rolex and many others.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan is the oldest shopping complex featured in this article, and probably the most famous. Built between 1865 and 1867, the ‘Galleria’ is known for its stunning architecture, neo-classical design, and of course, that monumental glass dome. A long-standing item on the Milan tourist’s hitlist, the ‘Galleria’ is held in high regard by the local Milanese and Italians.
Not only does the ‘Galleria’ showcase Italian architectures pomp and flair, it marries up with the technical engineering skill of the 19th century. In the middle of the ‘Galleria’ sit four ornate mosaics. These are the coats of arms, of the cities Turin, Florence and Rome, the capitals of the Kingdom of Italy, Milan is also featured.
The cast iron and glass roof erupts towards the heavens in the form of two vaulted barrels that cross in an octogen (the middle), where a dome lifts a staggering 17 metres in height and over 34 metres in diameter. The businesses in the Galleria are a mix of independent enterprises, multinational stores, restaurants, cafes and haute couture designers.
If you visit you can buy anything from the latest electronic technology, bespoke handmade fountain pens, or bags and clothes from fashion houses like Gucci or Prada.
Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Designed by American architecture firm F+A, the Mall of the Emirates is 220,000 square metres of premium, luxury retail space. The project was completed in September 2005 at an estimated cost of $218million.
The mall features a stunning glass roof as part of its structure, allowing natural light to pour in over the long, sweeping, marble walkways that allow visitors to browse and shop. The various elevators concertina between levels, leading to curved viewing spots harnessed by wooden banisters and glass panelling.
In addition, the complex includes over 100 restaurants, 7,000 parking spaces and an indoor Ski facility called Ski Dubai, the first Ski resort in Dubai. In total there are over 700 businesses included on the premises. Luxury retail brands that operate here include Breitling, Christian Louboutin, Paul Smith, Louis Vuitton amongst others.
The Dubai Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Opened in 2008, The Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world by total area. Along with over 1,200 shops, the mall even boasts an aquarium, underwater zoo and even has a dinosaur skeleton on display. As a result, this luxurious shopping destination is also one of the most popular attractions in the world, reporting more annual visitors than Times Square in New York, Central Park and Niagara Falls.
The luxury retail space is made up of many ornate features and interior designs. Walkways and avenues are polished marble floors complimented with glass panels and railings for safety. Several water features, pools and fountains are present throughout the footprint of the mall, the most striking of which is the Human Waterfall.
This visually impressive piece of art is both unnerving and beautiful, as several cast humans appear to dive the length of the waterfall into the pool below. Imagine a dynamic interpretation of Antony Gormley’s seminal ‘Another Place’ and you’re getting close.
The mall has shops dedicated to many high street and luxury shopping brands including, Dior, Hugo Boss, IWC, Mont Blanc, Sandro and Kate Spade New York amongst others.
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