The existing shopping mall consisted out of a large group of different blocks with different identities. Our vision was to unify them. Creating a continuous flow, by binding them all together. But keeping room for diversity.
Inspired by a silk scarf, we pulled the buildings together, like a shawl can do with an outfit. Unifying the formerly scattered buildings by smoothly draping over the façade like a second skin.
This inspiration gave us the freedom to ‘hide’ the closed program and open up where needed by pleating up and down. Creating a clear hierarchy between the different entrances, by emphasizing or simplifying the gesture. Generating natural flows, optimizing the costumer experience, guiding you inside.
The internal layout is set-up as a continuous loop. This 8-loop is shaped in such a way that you keep wondering what is around the next corner. Each view has something special. From expressive shopfronts to specials or WoW-effects. Constantly triggering the customer to continue their journey.
Unibail Rodamco Westfield
Expertise, Master planning, Interior design, Public, Retail
Since retail is now an arena for experiences, rather than simple transactions, our scheme for Leidsenhage shopping centre is more of a landscape than a single building. The new development, provisionally called the Mall of the Netherlands, covers 200,000m2, including 40,000m2 of new constructions. Our design therefore focuses on giving a strong identity to the project as a whole, an identity able to embrace diversity (of places, activities and brands) and the fast-changing nature of retail today.
Engineering the façade of the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands was a unique task. Its extreme shape, large spans and its flowing movement together with the desired look and feel made us choose for glass-fibre reinforced concrete.
The concrete facade inspired on a silk scarf which is called “The Voile” is made by using 3D technology & ground-breaking milling techniques. By working side by side with the façade contractors we were able to realize our design.
The Voile consist out of 2900 elements with a total surface of 9300m2 with a total length of 1.3 KM.
The façade underneath the voile is made out of extruded aluminum profiles, used as vertical lamels. To create a contrast with the voile.
The distance between the lamels increases towards the glazed/open façade so the visitors experience a smooth transition from outside to inside and vice versa.
For the closed part of this façade we designed a gradient pattern on aluminium plating which gives texture, dimension and scale to the project. Where ventilation was required could easily integrate the necessary grids between the lamels.
Because of the organic nature of our design it was essential to use 3D modelling software like Rhino/Grasshopper and Revit-Dynamo.
Together with all the involved advisors, Construction, MEP etc we created a Building Information Model.
By doing so we were able to solve clashes digitally and integrate all the necessary components in our design.
This model was later used for the aesthetical checks during the construction phase. All contractors where obliged to make 3D models which were put into a so-called coordination model which allowed us to 3D check and verify all components.
Making sure our high aesthetical goal for the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands could be realized.
Westfield Mall of the Netherlands was designed as an experience destination not as a standard shopping mall. This already starts at the parking which has space for 4000 cars.
When you enter this area, you are greeted by rhombus shaped elements which guide you in. Each parking has a different color for optimal orientation. The parking lobbies are designed as reflections of the mall and gradually invite you in via their open structure, leading you towards the mall.
Once you are inside, the 8-loop is a 1.8 km shopfront journey throughout the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands and is shaped in such a way that you keep wondering what is around the next corner.
The general look and feel and material pallet of the mall is introverted. The concept behind this is that the base pallet lets the different brands shine. Not making the mall monotonous but different from every angle. The neutral pallet of white, greys and blacks, guides you through the mall and the different passages, always continuous and fluid. By playing with the lines (same concept as the façade) opening them up and letting them cross, we were able to create different islands in the mall, making space for seating areas and kiosks. Which will later be filled in by the interior design of Saguez & Partners and URW’s own Concept Studio.
The accent lines in the ceiling also integrate all the technical components in one element. Merging al together at center at Central Plaza which you will find more about in the next episode.
At the crossing-point of the 8-loop we find Central Plaza. This central square forms the heart of our re-design. Here all lines come together and merge into a spectacular wooden ceiling. The spiraling blades, consisting of 700 individual blades, weave around the central skylight making it a truly unique destination within the mall. The design was created by using a combination of Rhino/Grasshopper and Revit/Dynamo. By making our own script we were able to easily adjust the design to create a optimal shape. This model was later used as a base for the construction of the ceiling.
This central node is one of the 4 destinations Westfield Mall of the Netherlands has and can function as a fully equipped event space.
Other destinations in the 8-loop include food market Fresh, which was designed in combination with Heyligers. It mixes the existing concrete structure with new steel additions creating a local and industrial vibe. Fresh combines craftsmanship, flavor and experience in one unique location.
The destination Designer Gallery is also part of the 8-loop and designed by de Staat… A street within the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands that has a unique vibe to it. Young designers and starting entrepreneurs can their own boutique here. With shopfronts made of steel white frames which differ per shop. A modern day reinterpretation of a classic Dutch shopping street
On the first floor of the mall, above the Designer Gallery, we find the Dining Plaza. Directly connected to the main outdoor parking and with its own entrance Dining Plaza stands out from the rest. When entering from the outside the white façade pleads in and black natural stone sawa’s pull you inside. Coming from the mall the flowing movement of the golden chains trigger your senses.
The flowing curtains on the ceiling mimic the movement of air flowing in different directions, making space (flowing around) special elements. This delicate design gives warmth and embraces its visitor. Making sure the vast space of this first level greets you at a human scale. By using different colors of lighting the mood can be adjusted to the time of day of year, making it very versatile in atmosphere.
The curtains pleat down at the different food kiosks marking their spot and giving them definition. Except for the outspoken ceiling the material used in the Dining Plaza is introverted, and consistent with the design of Westfield Mall of the Netherlands. Keeping within the same vision that the retailer should shine, we create just an excellent backdrop for them to do so.
In the series “The Making of the Westfield Mall of the Netherlands” our team takes you on the full experience the coming weeks; from drawing to realisation, and from the façade to the smallest detail.