Santa’s house gets a magical, modern makeover
This magical, modern makeover brought smiles to parents and children with its creative, memorable fusion of interactive fun, enchanting elements, and holiday cheer.
Joy started at the entrance, with interactive playpods where kids can jump and sit on floor graphics that lead them to Santa. The line is an experience in itself and was prominently displayed as an example of expert queue management techniques in a Retail Environments magazine article, Reading Between the Lines.
Holiday 2015: Reinventing Santa | Multiple locations: Belden Village Mall, Canton, Ohio; Southlake Mall, Merrillville, Ind.; Parkway Plaza Mall, El Cajon, Calif.
Completion: November 2015
Faith Bartrug Design design
Photography: Mark A. Steele Photography
Taking the best of the mall’s DNA and combining it with non-traditional visuals, unexpected elements, and storybook creativity reflected a child’s imagination in the design. Highlights include:
- The theme is extended throughout the mall and exterior with the use of common elements such as a “red door” graphic to imitate the red door at the Santa set, and garland that extended from the interior to the exterior.
- The ceiling and other areas did not compete with retailers, but rather complemented the effort.
- The Santa’s red door made each child feel individually welcomed and enthralled them with a colorful holiday wonderland.
Protostars resembling dandelion wishes and glittery snowballs floated above Santa and could be seen down the corridors, adding sparkle and volume by creating visual focus. Since the area is open on all four sides, the prop and fixture placement were planned carefully. Everything was designed for the visual journey.
Motion (twinkle) in the protostars prompted customers to look up, while trees hiding the equipment let Santa be the star. Greenery framed his house, and modern reindeer exude both whimsy and sophistication.
Also injecting a merry spirit were decorated charity trees, a white fence, and imaginative topiaries. Applied around the top surface of the house’s red beam are the lyrics to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer lyrics. An aerial view of the set allows customers at the Southlake Mall to look down and see the words.
An elevator at Southlake also added a whimsical touch by bringing “Southie Ralphie” the reindeer to life. Here’s how it worked: The glass capsule on the first floor had the outline of a reindeer face and the eyeballs were on the moving glass podule. The reindeer face was completed when the elevator/podule was on the first floor, sitting within the capsule.
Special decor visuals allowed individual malls to have signature elements. While all had the same Santa set design framework, the design team customized throughout the corridors, such as leaping reindeer topiaries in the planters at Southlake, ceiling garland at Belden Village Mall, and localized charities adorning the Christmas trees.