Shopping centre design of the future

Shopping centre design of the future

Changsha Shopping Mall in China, designed by HEIM Design.

Architecture design is rapidly evolving to accommodate human needs, and shopping centres have become more than places to buy goods.

“The shopping centre design of the future revolves around evoking a sense of spirit to each visitor passing through its doors,” says architect Jean-Pierre Heim, chief executive and founder of HEIM Design, who will be presenting his interesting insights at the 22nd annual SACSC congress at the Durban International Convention Centre from October 17 to 19.

“The building design of tomorrow will focus on ‘spirit’. Yes, shopping centres across the globe are different, not only geographically – they have different cultures and social differences. The most important aspect is to show people that shopping centres of the future are designed for them, for their children – according to their local climate, geography and social culture.

“That said, to add a sense of spirit to a building is far from being an easy task. In China this is called Feng Shui, in the Western World it is called integration. That fine line between function, form and harmony with tenants and shoppers is the key to adding a sense of spirit in terms of new shopping centre design,” he says.

Heim is regarded as a visionary designer who has created a variety of distinctive projects around the world. Completed projects include the French Luxury brand flagship stores in New York and Paris, Capitol Music Theatre in Frankfurt Offenbach, the Luxor Palace in Dresden, Brasserie La Lorraine restaurant in Paris, Thalassa Restaurant in New York, Villas in Miami , and the Coral Beach Club resort in Sint Maarten. His current projects include the Gu Resort in Pagan, Myanmar, Las Velas Resort and Marina in Luperon, Dominican Republic and East Havana new tourist destination in Cuba.

In Heim’s presentation at the SACSC congress, he will discuss the symbolism in architecture and design, and how to look deeper into forms and functions presenting his new vision in the form of his new concept for the Delos Museum in Greece.

“Our main philosophy is to reunify geography, climate and culture. A good example of this is the eco-tourist village in China that aims to transform an existing native village into a modern eco-resort that offers a variety of activities and spaces. In this project we have approached the redesign of this village using the “one belt, one road” development strategy that focuses on the connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia.

“In my presentation at the SACSC congress, I will also talk about the emerging new retail design of shopping centres of the future and what developers, shoppers and tenants can expect,” he said.

SACSC chief executive, Amanda Stops, says Heim highlights a very important aspect of the shopping centre industry.

“South African shopping centres, as world class as our offerings are, have begun to incorporate more innovative designs. We are starting to see many aspects being integrated into refurbishments or new developments that have the consumer in mind.

“Heim has many interesting aspects of design to share with delegates at this year’s annual congress. This year we celebrate the game changers and help others change the game. The 22nd SACSC annual congress is an industry event not to be missed,” she says.

This year’s line-up of speakers include Lebo Gunguluza, Polo Leteka, Gil Oved, Vusi Thembekwayo and Vinny Lingham of Dragons’ Den South Africa who will address delegates at the business lunch.

Other speakers include:

  • Jeremy Gardiner, leading economist and a seasoned SACSC congress speaker, will put a spotlight on current affairs, economics and investment markets as well as the state of consumer finances and debt levels; inflation rate; interest rates and the exchange rate.
  • Alan Knott Craig, who spoke at last year’s SACSC research conference, will speak about the changing internet and where it will be in the next five years. He says the first wave of the internet was virtual and people orientated. Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay all exist on the internet without touching the real world. The second wave will mash the virtual and physical worlds and will connect people and machines.
  • Uber’s Shavaye Govender, head of Strategic Partnerships & Uber for Business for Sub-Saharan Africa will speak on the current trends in retail transport which include the history of Uber and the drivers of exponential growth, current mobility trends in the retail industry and how the vision of Uber fits into the lifestyle of shoppers.
  • Zak Venter, the founder of the influential South African brand Sergeant Pepper Clothing Company (SPCC) will discuss the story-telling of brands. He believes every brand has an authentic story to tell, the best brands find a distinctive way to capture an aspect of their customers humanity and reflect this back to them through honest, authentic, engaging communication and brand narrative. He will share his start-up story and ability to inspire a movement through authentic storytelling in the digital age.

More speakers will be revealed closer to the date.

Bookings are now open for SACSC Annual Congress, sponsored by Broll Property Group. Visit or, email or call the SACSC head office on +27 (0) 10 003 0228.