Interview: For a Successful Shopping Gallery You Need Concept and Good Design

Good location, a wide range of brands and services, flawless operation, and active marketing are all important attributes of shopping centres.

Yet design is the fastest differentiator, says Jorge Morgadinho, Sonae Sierra’s Design and Architecture Director, a company that operates dozens of shopping centres across the globe and is preparing the concept for the extension of Bratislava-based Eurovea shopping gallery.

What is Sonae Sierra’s role in the Eurovea extension project?
Our role started by defining the Eurovea extension scheme based on the market study elaborated by our market research division. Following the client’s approval, we developed the interior concept design and scheme. The exterior is designed by GFI, the local architects – with whom we have remarkably good cooperation. As GFI also design the offices and residential part, it is very important to ensure that all the elements are connected into a single design language.


According to expert studies, customers in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have quite different expectations and requirements from shopping centres than people in the West. Did you feel any differences at the project assignment stage?
From the beginning, the Eurovea owner clearly sought the best product in the local market, and asked us to do everything to attract even more customers. In this respect, there aren’t any major differences between Eurovea and shopping centres in Western Europe. Eurovea is comparable to family-oriented shopping centres in France, Portugal and Spain with excellent food court and outdoor areas; apart from shopping centres such as those in Germany where gastronomy and eating play less of a role. In the CEE region, we have worked on several projects in countries such as Serbia, Ukraine, Croatia and Romania. In the latter two we have recently built and opened shopping centres, the most recent being ParkLake in Bucharest. Our market research division is very active across all regions, and provides key decision-making assistance.


EUROVEA2 should continue the architecture and concept of stage one. How do you evaluate this project?
The project is very interesting – it has a simple straightforward format that is highly compact and intuitive. Simplicity is the key for good sales. Eurovea’s second stage will continue the same path as the original natural flow whilst adding robust new characteristics. Our main design objective is to maximise the existing concept with the highest possible added value. We are not reinventing the wheel – but we are confident that we can improve the performance of stage one as well as that of the extension. We are sure that Eurovea’s visitors will appreciate this approach, and that they will embrace the project at first sight and experience. They will feel that this is their shopping and entertainment centre.


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