Orchard Central, the first vertical mall in Singapore, is a total turnaround of a typical shopping mall model through its capitalising on spatial constraint - due to site configuration works - to the best advantage.
By omitting a central atrium and using 'borrowed' space from the Discovery Walk, an extended 'living room' is formed to allow consumers to wander, relax or linger. Clusters of different retail concepts (youth/fashion/wellness/sports) are designed with overlapping, varied volumes and distinctive interior architecture, adopting the fundamental use of rectilinear warm and muted colour elements, conceptualised from the web structure fronting the Orchard/Killiney junction.
The façade is designed as a 'porous' envelope with varying transparency that creates an intimate dialogue among the bustling street and the lush flame trees. Abundant daylight filters through the spaces and varying retail shop heights, creating a visual relief. At night, the protruding retail glass facades with LED lighting incorporated in the façade mullions act as a visual stimulus, yet transparent enough to offer a glimpse of the internal activities and merchandise, doubling-up as a retail carpet for the tenants.
The subtle colours emitted by the façade light inform the shoppers of the time of the day. Instead of common kitsch decorations on the building façade during festivals, a common hue will be programmed and displayed on the façade to enhance shoppers' festive mood and the urban streetscape.
The day and night transformation of the mall's character is effected through the sensitive use of LEDs in-built within façade mullion. Viewed from its surroundings, the facets of the sculpted web structure appear as a textured membrane at various angles, transmitting varying metallic reflections throughout the day.
These aluminum half-tubes are fitted with energy saving LED nodes. At night, the web transforms into a gigantic canvas for digital artwork by local artist Matthew Ngui. This is a testament to the novel union between form and function in relation to art and architecture, the creation of a new typology for the built environment.