Redevelopment and expansion of a large shopping centre on the outskirts of Melbourne to reposition it as a food, fashion and family-friendly destination
Eastland Shopping Centre, in an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Australia, first opened in 1967, but by the turn-of-the-century had started to feel limited and out-of-date, so in 2013, the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) unveiled a $665-million plan to make it a retail destination for the 21st century. A 50% increase in retail space, 131,000 sq. m, would make it one of the largest shopping centres in Australia, but QIC also wanted to change the place’s character, making it an authentic, cosmopolitan hub that would encourage regional growth and evolve with the community it serves.
We were commissioned to create a series of large-scale retail interiors, including the refurbishment of existing buildings and new developments, including the luxury retail precinct of the Central Mall, the South Mall, the sculptural timber seating throughout and two new arcade spaces: the Beauty Garden and Accessories Arcade.
Throughout the interior architecture, vaulted and sculptural ceilings are a feature, defining the character of the spaces and adding warmth and texture. As the main artery that connects Myer and David Jones (two of Australia’s largest department stores), the Central Mall is a grand promenade, but as a contrast, the linking malls of the Accessories Arcade and Beauty Garden (with its ceiling installation by British artist, Rebecca Louise Law) offer more characterful, intimate retail spaces. These reflect Melbourne’s unique laneways: narrow spaces that are famous as centres for boutiques, galleries, one-off cafés and hidden bars.
The centre acts within a larger regeneration programme of the entire area, and is the first in a series of major transformations of shopping centres by QIC, providing a test case to show the ways in which commercial and civic spaces can coexist happily and form real public facilities for the local community.