The current global financial climate has meant the retail sector has taken quite a hit. Add to this the challenge of online competitors with their microscopic overhead costs and high trend factor and you have a sector that is struggling.
This struggle, has however, lead to a number of inventive built opportunities that are promising to breathe new life into the sector, shaking up traditional consumption stereotypes.
One growing means of rejuvenating the sector is through the development sustainable, pop-up shopping malls. After the fallout from the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), mass consumption has been seen as the epitome of wrong-doing – and perhaps for good reason.
In creating sustainable, zero-waste shopping spaces, not only do retailers gain the benefits of the green ‘halo’ effect, but they also offer sustainable attributes to a sector that is known for its unsustainable, hot minute nature.
Relying strongly on a structural basis of recycled shipping containers, pop-up retailers are dotted from Christchurch to London and offer a new shopping experience that is as much about promoting a growth in retail as it is about promoting sustainability to consumers.
Melbourne is now set to receive its first ever sustainably driven pop-up shopping mall, designed by Steven Vidovic and Kristina Taranto who together won the nation wide design competition for the tender. Known as the People’s Market & Flea pop-up, the shopping strip will be located on Collingwood’s Stanley street running from November this year through to the following April.
Vidovic and Taranto have taken a fresh approach to this up-and-coming sector of design, with their first entry into the design competition spectrum proving to have the winning combination of idealism and realism.
“We’re pretty excited – it’s the first competition we entered and won together,” says Taranto. “We were interested in it for the sustainability aspects of the brief and the chance to design for a young market. And the impermanence of the structures is an interesting design/build challenge.”
Recycled objects will make up the basic structure of the built spaces, with green roofs, vertical gardens and extensive park areas weaving their way through the structural elements. Rainwater harvesting is expected to play a key part in maintaining a sustainable built environment that is heavily reliant on organic elements.
In these early stages, the designers are still currently sourcing the ideal materials to go into developing the pop-up market, which is expected to include seating for over 200 people, a bar and further night life spaces for bands and an open air cinema.
“At the moment we’re busy sourcing materials from salvage suppliers and construction sites,” says Taranto. “There are a lot of components to design and different types of people to cater for. We’re building a wall of recycled PET bottles at the back of the bar, which we’ll light for ambience.”
The fresh approach the new architects have taken is exactly where retail is now moving in order to evolve with the changing economic climate. Continuing to design and deliver in this way promotes a greater, more sustainable community setting centred around retail in addition to breaking the retail-equals-waste stereotype that is damaging the already-strained sector.