|An artist’s rendering of The Promenada mall in Chiang Mai, which will have a canal running through it. When complete, it will be the largest community mall in Thailand.|
Resort malls should have community activities, a relaxing atmosphere, a natural feeling and a traditional touch, requiring a large land plot and reasonable weather to help the design achieve its objectives, says a local architect.
Korakoth Kunalungkarn, executive vice-president of the architecture firm Interior Architecture 103 Co, noted visitors go to community malls for shopping, playing, eating, entertaining, medical care, beauty, banking or family leisure. Many prefer community malls to shopping malls because they can avoid the crowds and noise.
Ms Korakoth is responsible for the interior design of the new Promenada Resort community mall in Chiang Mai. She divided it into two buildings to serve different target groups.
One will serve families with a supermarket, home decoration, sporting goods, fashion, education, health & beauty, banks and fine dining while the other will serve teenagers with entertainment, cinema, sports, karaoke, skating and fast food.
"The concept is green and fresh," she said.
The Promenada will be two low-rise buildings bridged together with only three floors each, to keep things cosy.
It will use artificial wooden bars to decorate the exterior, which is part of the green concept. Artificial wood is easy to clean, she added.
Surawat Hant, design director of the architectural and engineering consultancy Chuchawal Royal Haskoning, said five gigantic traditional northern-style umbrellas would be a focal point. A void will open in the middle letting through sunlight.
"A canal will run through the middle of the plot to separate the two buildings harmoniously. We want the mall to feel like a resort," he said.
Pajitpong Pongsivapai, managing director of the landscape architecture firm Inside Out Design Co, said the landscape design would use organic forms to create a natural feeling and relaxing atmosphere.
A terraced garden and farm, a moat and a waterfall will be incorporated into the design.
In addition, an amphitheatre for events and a walking street will be included.
"This mall will have several outdoor spaces, so Chiang Mai's pleasant weather throughout the year will be a factor," said Ms Korakoth.
The plot is 58 rai, though 40% will be open space. It has a gross area of 91,951 square metres and net leasable area of approximately 50,000 sq m, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2012.
The Promenada will be the largest community mall in Thailand. Most community malls are 20,000 sq m.
The project will be developed by the Dutch firm ECC International Real Estate with an investment of around 2.9 billion baht. Some 40% of the leasable area is booked.
"We aim to use our Bangkok office as a regional operating headquarters to build more shopping malls in Asia, including Vietnam," said the developer's president and CEO Tjeert Kwan. "We are so lucky we made the move to Asia as Europe is crashing."
For marketing, the developer is using a quarterly lifestyle magazine called Promenada. It plans to publish a Thai magazine in the fourth quarter of 2012 to provide information to potential buyers in Chiang Mai.