BSBG’s long-term relationship with Al-Futtaim Real Estate, and historic involvement in flagship retail destination Dubai Festival City, continues, as the group announces its involvement in the repositioning and upgrade of internal and exterior elements of the mall.
In 2006 BSBG completed the design and delivery of the Dubai Festival City IKEA, hypermarket and atrium space that seamlessly integrates with the mall. In 2019, the scope for BSBG involved repositioning the design and execution of the public realm, shifting the architectural experience of spaces to offer a new dynamic which fuses entertainment elements with retail. The design has aspirations to create a platform that delivers an answer to the shift in market demand, where people now have a preference for destinations that offer authentic ‘moments’ and entertainment options. This involved elements of placemaking and space activation, all targeted at increasing dwell times, engagement and maintaining the popularity of one of Dubai’s traditionally most lively retail destinations.
Upgrades to the internal and external design will be complete in time for Expo 2020 Dubai, with construction due to begin this month. Features of the project include design enhancements of the Festival Bay plaza, a parking expansion, removal of obstructive structures to improve sightlines, the addition of glass railings and shop-front enhancements inside the mall. The bay’s façade is to be upgraded, and the already popular outdoor frontage next to the bay will benefit from the addition of event lighting and large LED screens to create a ‘dwell area’ for visitors. More seating will be introduced with furniture installments that provide USB ports, phone chargers and WiFi access.
Group Design Director Michael Lewis gave us his own insight on the project, saying: “The shift register from retail to entertainment-based experiences demands the sector to evolve and adopt a more experiential approach, and also to respond to digital immediacy.
“Retail will continue the evolutionary trend into destination-based entertainment and mixed-use functions to support community services. Space activation therefore comes to the forefront of the mix of uses that developers will need to focus on for existing assets, as well as new build mixed-use. Al-Futtaim is ahead of the curve in this respect, and our return to Dubai Festival City for this exciting enhancement project is likely to spark a similar approach in malls across the region, which are traditionally almost utopian in their social appeal. It’s time to show the flexibility in offering to ensure this remains the case…”
*All images courtesy of Al-Futtaim