6 of the World’s Most Beautifully Designed Malls

Despite its best efforts, the Internet has not killed the mall. Besides the annual Black Friday madness, another sign that brick-and-mortar commerce is alive and well is the innovative structures that are being built around the world. Often incorporated into mixed-use developments that include offices, hotels, and green spaces, today’s shopping centers feel more like town squares than traditional malls. Eye-catching materials, art installations, and landscaping enhance the latest designs from top firms such as Sou Fujimoto, UNStudio, and Heatherwick Studio. Tour the most beautiful retail destinations around the world, from a transformed mall in Melbourne to a colorful shopping center in Sweden. The only thing better than indulging in a little retail therapy may be doing it in these incredible surroundings.

London-based firm ACME took inspiration from Victorian arcades for the design of Victoria Gate, a shopping center in Leeds, England. The complex includes a department store with a striking diagrid façade and two new sky-lit arcades with an Art Deco–influenced brick and terra-cotta exterior.

Over 42,000 stainless steel spheres decorate the façade of Hanjie Wanda Square in Wuhan City, China. The shopping center, which was designed by UNStudio, is arranged around north and south atriums, each crowned with a funnel-like skylight.

Heatherwick Studio transformed Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, a mixed-use complex with a four-floor shopping mall originally built in 1990. The firm improved the circulation, added public space, and incorporated natural materials such as wood and stone.

Architecture firm Arquitectonica designed Miami’s Brickell City Centre, a nine-acre development that includes 500,000 square feet of retail. A glass, steel, and fabric structure, known as the Climate Ribbon, covers the shopping concourses, letting in light and air and collecting rainwater that is used to irrigate the landscaping.

UNStudio is also behind the design of Lane 189 in Shanghai. The exterior is based on a hexagonal grid and is illuminated with LEDs to create a range of effects. Inside the seven-story space, curved floors are stacked, giving the interior a distinctly organic quality.

Architecture firm Wingårdhs designed the vibrant Emporia shopping center in Malmö, Sweden. The building is arranged in a three-story figure eight with a rooftop park and the stores are situated around color-themed atriums.

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