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South City Mall

Kolkata, India

Most visits to malls have a purpose and impact the user in creating memorable experiences. Space planning directly impacts behaviour and correlates to the overall retail takeaway by the consumer. The p rimary design challenge was working with a previous structural footprint that required innovative solutions within a limited budget. Tactical layout planning, commercial ambience and positive cues in design or signage offered by the mall to its users encou rage more footfall and, subsequently, better business. The South City Mall, originally designed by Bentel Associates in 2011, aims to create a sophisticated and progressive commercial environment that promises a memorable retail experience for the people.

Located in the populous Southern suburban city of Kolkata, the South City Mall is a landmark in a massive mixed - use development project that includes residential towers, an art gallery and a school. Initially, it was developed over phases in the city of j oy, amongst the hustle - bustle of industries. It’s size and location has led it to become a massive cultural hub for clientele across East India in addition to Kolkata. After seven years of functioning, its interior design was in need of refurbishment to ma ke it relevant to the increased profile of people and the changing trend. Given the highly transformative nature of malls and retail experiences in India, the mall had been commissioned for a massive renovation that spanned two years, between 2017 - 2019.

A space of massive potential, it has a gross leasable area of 1,000,000 sq ft and the provision for parking over 2,500 vehicles today. The aspirations of mall patrons and formats have evolved based on the current definition of what makes a successful mixed - use space. South City benefits from the higher availability of Floor Space Index (FSI), owing to the metro corridor abutting it. A brand - new multi - cuisine food court and fine dining options are curated from the additional floor gained; the existing food - co urt area was omitted to offer additional shopping options.

The facade of the mall is defined by four towers known as the ''Towers of Light''. Woven horizontally across the facade are striking elements of steel, aluminium and glass. Not only does it c reate a dramatic architectural statement, but also honours the design language of the industrial neighbourhood. To further anchor its space in the iconic city, a racetrack walkway circles the central space of the mall while providing a grand sense of arriv al. Interesting sight lines provide visual appeal of the South City mall when viewed from outside, further enhanced by its newly increased elevation. The original atrium roof was replaced by a new central atrium constructed above the additional floor. The five - storey glass face Commented [1]: will check if we can push the date to a bit later Commented [2]: fixed the sentence formation. of the atrium functions as the main feature of the entrance and enables an abundance of natural light to fill the space during the day.

The newly formulated food court resembles a series of courtyards and streets, paying homage to K olkata's food history. Spatially, it is divided into three zones that depict Anglo Indian/Colonial, Islamic and modern alfresco influences. A twist to traditional Bengali design is amalgamating it with the street food culture of Monte Casino. It is achieve d by devising a set with false facades, terraces and balconies in a double story setting, rounding off the "street food" experience. The food court seats 1200 PAX, with a capacity for 200 outdoors and 1000 indoors.

The food court is a blend of history and nostalgia, while being formulated to leave customers with pleasant memories. It is accompanied on the top floor by an INOX multiplex; the available spaces and interiors of the mall are relatively minimal, bright and airier, for users to feel the maximum i mpact of the themed environments. The Mall was entirely closed during its extensive refurbishment; eventually, housing over 134 stores with name brands such as Zara, Pantaloons, Marks & Spencer's, Spencer's Retail and Shoppers Stop. Its success is validate d as it was inaugurated in 2019 to overwhelming appreciation from customers.

An experimental take on diversifying a neighbourhood mall to serve mixed - use purposes has been a huge intervention in redefining the crux of mall design. The metro’s access seamlessly blends into the mall design, as does the addition of the food court on the new floor. Hence, an elongated central atrium in a double mall proves to be the most efficient design solution in t he said context. The previous structural footprint was utilized optimally to manifest a wholesome retail experience in the South City mall by upgrading the public areas to a more luxurious and versatile ambience.

PROJECT NAME South City Mall
LOCATION Kolkata, India
SERVICES Architecture, Interior
SIZE 96,000 m²
CLIENT South City Projects