Mar 22, 2012

Orchard Central Is A Concept Mall Unlikely to Stick

Orchard Central opened its doors in 2009 alongside two other high-end fashion malls on Singapore’s famed Orchard Road. While 313@Somerset, and Ion Orchard have carved out their place with flagship stores, a wide variety of coveted brands, and loyal fan bases, Orchard Central has struggled to gain an identity in Orchard Road’s competitive shopping district.

An Impressive Building

Orchard Central Photo

via: chooyutshing

With 14 floors, Orchard Central is the tallest mall in Singapore. Fifty-two escalators, 12 glass elevators, and zig-zagging levels make for an interesting experience. The mall brands itself as a concept mall. In its first three years in business, the mall has been more focused on art and aesthetics than in creating a great shopping experience.

Complicated Layout = A Tough Sell

Orchard Central Image

via: Steel Wool

The complicated layout of Orchard Central makes it a maze, even repeat visitors find themselves getting lost. The mall charms first time visitors with a massive collection of public art installations commissioned from all over the world. A giant climbing wall, Roof Garden, and Discovery Walk are some of the non-shopping focused installations in the building.

The mall’s major effort to differentiate itself has been with its attempt to attract Italian, Spanish and Northern African themed businesses to The Med, it’s Mediterranean-themed marketplace. The Med’s ambience and spacious layout is beautiful, but with rising restaurant prices, and a lack of growth and expansion the theme has largely been a flop.

Why Visit? Dining & “Pampering”

The absence of a movie theater, or a popular department store leave the mall with restaurants, and service-related shops as its only source of recurring revenue. The “Pampering” themed section of the mall hosts high-end hairdressers, waxing, manicures, pedicures, massages and more. Much of the mall’s daily repeat traffic comes from these high-end, hardly affordable service offerings.

Don’t Miss The Roof Garden

Orchard Central Picture

via: chooyutshing

The Roof Garden, and the restaurants and bars on levels 11-12 are another source of repeat traffic at Orchard Central. The Roof Garden is award-winning open-air rooftop destination complete with panoramic views of Singapore, as well as restaurants and coffee shops. Restaurants NUOC, Tunk Log Seafood, Ochre, and Kuriya Penthouse are all highly recommended dining options on Orchard Road.

With a surplus of greenery, and amazing garden installations, The Roof Garden is one of the few must-see destinations at a mall that is more interested in being interesting than in providing a quality shopping experience.

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