Two new retail malls are set to lift shoppng to a new level in the Orchard Road shopping belt come late 2008.
Mega details of the ION Orchard on Orchard Turn and Orchard Central were unveiled barely hours within each other yesterday, both boasting "out-of-the-box" shop spaces and spectacular architectural designs.
They both occupy super-prime sites alongside Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations - the $700 million ION Orchard above Orchard MRT, and the $650 million Orchard Central next to Somerset MRT - and will be the latest additions to Orchard Road in more than a decade.
Orchard Turn Development presented its ION Orchard at a media conference yesterday morning.
ION Orchard, meaning "I on Orchard", is set to be the new "centre of gravity" in the prime Orchard shopping belt, showcasing upscale shops and luxury apartments, say its owners Singapore's CapitaLand Limited and Hong Kong's Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited.
Strategically located at the junction of Orchard and Paterson roads, the ION Orchard is the retail component of the retail-cum-luxury residential Orchard Turn Development.
Barely a few hours later, Far East Organisation held a marketing launch for Orchard Central - unveiling a 13-storey, 160-metre frontage plan for its own retail icon. It will be Orchard Road's tallest mall and will feature an innovative use of shop space.
ION Orchard -- a "centre of gravity"
With a net lettable area of over 660,000 square feet housing some 400 retail, food and beverage, and entertainment stores, the ION Orchard aims to live up to every inch of its "magnetic" personality.
Besides showcasing a magnificent frontage of duplex-level shops towering 12 metres in height, the retail mall will boast the largest public sheltered square, a striking 117-metre frontage employing media architecture, and a panoramic observation deck - truly a multi-sensory shopping experience.
"The name resonates a high level of energy, dynamism and magnetism, characteristics of an ion, an electrically charged particle. This is in line with its vision to be become the 'centre of gravity' in the city's premier shopping district," said Ms Soon Su Lin, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Orchard Turn Developments Pte Ltd.
If the sheer grandeur of the development seems too daunting, the developers have placed a pun on the word "ION Orchard" to also mean "I on Orchard", suggesting a retail experience of a highly personal and individualised nature.
Strategically situated directly above the Orchard Road Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station, the ION Orchard will be spread over eight retail levels, four on the basement and four above ground.
Six yet-to-be-selected top luxury superbrands will build their signature flagships or concept stores in spectacular duplex units fronting Orchard Road . The other shops inside will also bear the same innovative use of space, with wide store fronts and generous ceiling heights - providing tenants with maximum freedom of configuration.
Mr Pua Seck Guan, CEO, CapitaLand Retail Limited, says there will be a good mix of retails outlets which will cater for both the "high-, mid- and upper mid- end" of the consumer spectrum. And for the luxurious flagship stores, Mr Pua adds that the concept will not be to "intimidate", but will have a universal appeal through innovative design and layout, as the "face" of the mall.
The 117-metre frontage along Orchard Road will employ media architecture to cover its entire façade. These bigger-than-life screens will showcase the retail brands, and serve as a platform where 'live' global events, multimedia art and events in the mall can be telecast.
The remaining features of ION Orchard build on its namesake - a 33,000 square feet sheltered public space called ION2, a 5,300 square foot art and cultural gallery called ION Art, and a double-storey observation deck located on the 55 th and 56th floors named ION Sky.
The eight floor mall will be housed within a 218m-tall, 56-storey luxury building. The remaining 48 floors will contain 175 high-end apartments called Orchard Residences.
Orchard Central - 'Out of the box' shop spaces
Breaking out of the traditional "three walls and a roller shutter" routine will be one of Orchard Central's main aims, says Mrs Vivienne Tan, president of Far East Retail Consulting.
The mall will contain an innovative mix of underground shops, ramp shops, restaurants with outdoor balcony seating and a special "jewel box" - a glass-fronted shop which will hang in mid-air outside the premises.
Similar to the ION Orchard, it will house some 400 shops and food outlets, and will attract luxury brand tenants to establish their flagship concept stores. The developers have announced the mall's extended opening hours - 11am to 11pm daily, surely good news for the 'diehard' shopper.