Well-trodden internal retail streets void of natural light can become dark rabbit warrens over time. Mindful of this, our brief from Crown asked for an upgrade of their ground floor Retail Street so that it marched to the same beat as the precinct’s upmarket retail and hospitality offer. Meandering a vast 220m from the Crown Towers hotel foyer end to the Crown Food Court, our design approach opted to exploit existing shapes and forms.
Working within a sophisticated black tie palette to set the ambience, we replaced tired terracotta flooring tiles with slick black granite that mirrored the curved line of the bulkhead above. This made for a strong contrast to the Calcutta Gold white marble alongside. Our design of different configurations for the black and white floor tiles along with a mix of textures and patterns using tiles, fabric and timber panelling to replace former wall cladding, are devices that helped to create a range of experiences and points of interest along the trail. The idea was to complement what existed without being overbearing while generating a sense of linkage between the variety of shop fronts and the bits and pieces of space in between.
Treating the lift cores as dark portal pause points which then transition into a white space where the ceiling is higher – played on the high and low ceiling heights. Emphasising the differences in architecture in this way functionally serves to break up the length of the space. And consistent with our design philosophy we like to make sure that any new materials introduced to existing built form, are in keeping with what is already there, paying homage to any pertinent design language. That informed our scalloped plaster treatment of the bulkheads and the dialogue that exists between wall tiles and sections of patterned ceiling.
We also ventured into the Food Court end of Retail Street and spruced up the adjoining space with new flooring, built in banquet and other seating, tiling of the lift core and screen design.
The Retail Street project for Red Design Group became a platform for bringing our versatility to the fore. Given our retail and hospitality design bent, we were able to draw on what we know makes each sector thrive to ensure that our treatment of Retail Street made a befitting statement. A regular refresh of retail streets within shopping centres and spaces within large precincts is a prudent way to address the need for continual reinvention and at the same time provides patrons with an inviting and pleasurable experience that gives people a reason to return.
Take a stroll down Crown’s Retail Street and tell us what you think.