Due to open in October, Coal Drops Yard London is a shopping development that will reside at King’s Cross Station. Set to be home to 60 retailers, the project marks a stark contrast to dreary headlines expressing the death of retail.
We only have to think of Macy’s plight and demise to gauge how retail has struggled to perform. Stylus discloses that, according to Time, in the US, 25% of stores will have closed by 2022.
In this climate, is Coal Drops Yard an overly ambitious feat? The answer is no. Quite simply, the success of any business is determined by their ability to cater to changing consumer trends in order to stay relevant.
So what does it take for a mall to be relevant today?
Experiences have become the retail blueprint. By consequence, malls must be dynamic in their offering. Innovative retail concepts have become lifestyle-driven environments. Situated amongst office space, homes, education centres and public space, Coal Drops Yard is primed to cater to this need and become a cultural hub.
In previous blogs, we have explored why borrowing from the world of culture and art creates experiences that connect. Essentially, culture is a beeline to creating empathy. Where this is empathy, there is connection. In order to success, brands must become the zeitgeist.
Neighbouring the site is UAL. As the world of education continues to change, consumers look favourably to brands that offer bite-sized and on-the-go learning. As malls get a rebrand, retail must be education enablers. The store is the new classroom; brands are the teachers.
But as we face the future of the mall, it is essential that design that
addresses critical issues that face our times. For instance, how can the modern mall address epidemic concerns such as mental health, loneliness and stress?
As the population of cities is set to grow and see 70% of people living in urban spaces by 2050, it is within our responsibility to use design to prepare for this future.
A modern mall would do well to consider how to prohibit pollution. Look to Daan Roosegaarde’s smog tower in Beijing for inspiration. Perhaps what is most impressive about this tower is that the smog is then turned into jewellery: one ring was used in a marriage proposal.
Defined by their search for ethical, sustainable and green credentials when interacting with brands, the emerging consumer group, the aspirational elite springs to mind. This kind of design thinking epitomises the circular economy that is set to refine the way we work in the future.
Retail need to do more than design. Spaces must become two-way
dialogues. Not just between brand and consumer, but between brand and environment.
Embrace circular design thinking. How can your brand create a space or product that turns waste into an asset?
Become part of your city. Address wider societal concerns. How can your brand help shape a positive future?
Create a dynamic experience. Become an education enabler. How can your brand help your consumer with self-development and progression.