Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mandarin mall reopens

Mandarin Gallery reopens tomorrow promising a novel retail and dining experience for shoppers

It is only half complete, but Mandarin Gallery will open its doors to the public tomorrow after a $200-million facelift.

About 50 of the Orchard Road mall’s 103 tenants will open in time for the Christmas buying season, says Mrs Patrina Tan, 41, senior vice-president of retail, marketing and leasing at Overseas Union Enterprise, which owns Mandarin Gallery.

They include Japanese lifestyle shop atomi, local clothes label Trioon, multi-label clothes boutique BLVD Gallery One, French lingerie label huit lingerie and high-end fashion label Galliano.

Others to open when the mall is fully operational by the end of January are local fashion label a.i. by Ashley Isham and luxury telecommunications company Vertu.

Located in Meritus Mandarin hotel, the 35-year-old mall had previously housed retailers such as fashion label Esprit and leatherware boutique Braun Buffel.

But after an 18-month refurbishment, the four-level mall has doubled its retail space to 11,706 sq m by taking over the hotel lobby and function rooms. The new hotel lobby is now on Level 5.

A prominent design feature is the five duplex (two-storey) shops that dominate the mall’s facade. One occupant, the multi-label boutique Bread And Butter, will open tomorrow. The other four, which will house Emporio Armani, D&G, Montblanc and Marc by Marc Jacobs, will open by the end of January.

‘Malls in Singapore do not really make use of shopping space on their ground floors. Maximising the space we have with these duplexes also gives depth to the brands as feature labels,’ says Mrs Tan.

The mall’s interiors, conceptualised by Japanese design company AIM Create, are modelled after a Japanese tea house to give more warmth with the use of wood instead of white plaster ceilings, she adds.

In addition, each level has a different shopping cluster. Level 1 and 2 house international labels such as Just Cavalli, Folli Follie and Italian clothes brand Henry Cotton’s. Level 3 has sports brand Adidas & Taylormade and all-day breakfast eatery Wild Honey.

Serving up international fare such as salmon tamago balls with sushi rice, Mexican burritos as well as homemade breads and jam, Wild Honey is bullish about its novel approach.

Says Mr Guy Wachs, 30, director of Wild Honey: ‘We have looked at the food scene in Singapore and feel that having an all-breakfast concept can be a little crazy, but for a strategic location such as Mandarin Gallery, it’s a good idea and a good partnership.’

Level 4 has lifestyle stores including spas and eateries. Opening tomorrow is Thai Thai, a fine-dining Thai restaurant chain from Malaysia. Joining the line-up will be steak restaurant Lawry’s Prime Rib, which moves from Paragon to Mandarin Gallery on Jan 10.

Japanese food lovers can also look forward to the opening of the famous Japanese ramen restaurant, Ippudo, which will make its debut here on Dec 15. This will be the chain’s second venture outside Japan. Its other overseas outlet is in New York.

Source: Straits Times, 26 Nov 2009

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