It’s a beautiful day in the ‘neighborhood.’ Retail boulevards re-energize and captivate
T GALLERIA at the City of Dreams | Cotai Strip, Macau
size: 420,000 sf
completion: February 2017
retailer: DFS Group, an LVMH Group Company
UPGRADING AND RE-ENERGIZING THE RETAIL BOULEVARDS that surround the casino and connect the hotels, this retail expansion creates new and innovative retail experiences.
The property sits on Macau’s Cotai Strip—an area similar to the Las Vegas Strip, but with fewer Elvis impersonators. It consists of four luxury hotels, a world-class casino, entertainment theaters, food and beverage offerings, personal concierge service venues, and high-end retail shops. Originally built in 2008, the property quickly outgrew its footprint of 320,000-sq.-ft. of retail space. It needed more luxury shops and easier navigation for its customer base of affluent travelers and gaming enthusiasts.
“The goal was to create a new and innovative retail experience for the gaming enthusiast while upgrading and energizing the retail boulevard. They needed it to be completely realigned and decide what retail offerings would go in what location,” says Charles Sparks, president and CEO of Charles Sparks + Co.
A neighborhood feel
The result was the addition of another 100,000 sq. ft. of retail space. The retail experience is an offering of curated merchandise integrated with relevant concierge and other services. Key to the project was the integration of the brand code into the environment, introducing the newly defined T Galleria into the 1,000-meter (3,280 ft.) retail boulevards that connect to the hotels and surround the casinos in a loop.
In keeping with the city feel, “we utilized principles of placemaking found in urban planning to enhance the urban experience,” Sparks says. “The lengths of the planned boulevards required a way to segment them into a sequence of smaller-scaled esplanades so customers could sense a more navigable scale.”
The plan called for “neighborhoods”—breaking the long boulevards into focused zones of related merchandise. Portals, or transition zones, are framed by dramatic, arched entryways from neighborhood to neighborhood. The neighborhoods create a sequence of smaller-scaled esplanades to facilitate wayfinding.
“While portals were a consistent design, each esplanade has its own personality via unique neutral piers between shops and common area finishes and details,” Sparks explains. “It’s a sort of visual choreography in that our design leads the customer to various offerings.”
Elements of place
Devoid of straight lines, the curvilinear floor plan of the City of Dreams property resembles the profile of a seahorse, the “tail” being the two-level neighborhood of luxury brands, Sparks explains.
With floor-to-floor heights near 30 ft., intermediate landings for escalator runs between floors keep the vertical transportation from being intimidating. At the nexus of two major boulevards, a multitier grand staircase with individually lit risers and splayed escalators provides an impressive visual display.
In front of the grand staircase, an expansive plaza reminiscent of Europe’s richly patterned town squares serves as a place for gatherings, events, promotions, and community activities. This centerpiece is surrounded by many elite fashion authority luxury brands in leather and accessories.
High-end materials for the retail spaces include a custom-printed large-format porcelain flooring from Atlas Concorde.
New brand initiative
A DFS-branded women’s shoe presentation beneath the mezzanine displays 1,700 luxury shoes sprawled over an open 24,500-sq.-ft. area by the grand staircase. This new launch is part of DFS’s new merchandising initiative.
“DFS wanted to create a new paradigm that was holistic and stunning and to facilitate a dynamic, well-thought-out product engagement. Key to this accomplishment is the integration of the DFS brand code into the environment,” says Sparks.
The transition from DFS Galleria to T Galleria by DFS represents travel, a destination shopping experience, and DFS’s reputation for luxury.
“It is a constantly evolving challenge to attract the luxury travel market. This property combines all the best amenities in hospitality, food and beverage, the most exclusive names in luxury retail, and excellence in concierge services for the most discriminating worldwide traveler,” says Sparks.
The high ceilings combined with stone-clad columns and tiers, LED lights, and digital technology transform the City of Dreams into a one-of-a-kind retail destination.
Hilary Daninhirsch and Beth Feinstein-Bartl contributed to this report.