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Well, Well, Well: Malls of the Future

Wellness is taking center stage in forward-facing retail complexes.

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Greenery is integral to the shopping experience at the Grove Arcade in Ashville, N.C. PHOTO: J. Michael Jones/iStock
Greenery is integral to the shopping experience at the Grove Arcade in Ashville, N.C. PHOTO: J. Michael Jones/iStock

In the post-pandemic era, health and wellness have risen to be top design priorities in built environments, including shoppers who desire commercial spaces that promote emotional, physical and social benefits, Frame reports. This is reflected in the rising number of ambitious retail projects that are finding subtle yet immersive ways to tap into the $1.5 trillion wellness economy, the design news source says.

‘”In essence, shopping has the potential to influence multiple dimensions of wellbeing by providing leisure-oriented activities and creating social cohesion for the community,’ says Mardi Najafi, VP of retail strategy and design at Figure3, a multidisciplinary studio that works across retail, workplace, residential and hospitality. “We are now seeing complex retail concepts emerging around the globe, like Porta Nuova district in Milan, or the Singapore Changi Airport, that include wellness as part of their key strategy.”

Such elements have the potential to resuscitate otherwise ailing retail formats, striking a balance between stimulating and restorative features.

“The opportunity in retail developments is to deliver an environment that exudes a healthier way of living and repositions one’s mind to new possibilities – an environment that transcends its space,” says Melissa Gonzalez, a Principal at global architecture and design firm MG2 and The Lionesque Group.

All this means the communal nature of retail developments will be vital to their survival. “There is an opportunity to reinvent the mall experience and bring people together in a way that encourages connection, functioning as the heart and central gathering place for the community,” says Figure 3’s Najafi.

Click here for more on this topic from Frame.

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