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Business Advice

New Wisma Atria is hip and classy

Welcome to the new 26-year-old mall Wisma Atria, whose spiffy lines are giving the next-door Ion mall a run for its money.
The Sunday Times - October 7, 2012
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New Wisma Atria is hip and classy Shoppers say the new $31-million facade of Wisma Atria looks as glitzy as Ion next door. -- PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The clunky escalators are gone and the brand new flight of steps replacing them twinkle with multi-coloured lights. Gone too, is the familiar blue grid facade.

High-end watch outlets such as Cortina and Tag Heuer display their wares in shiny double-storey storefronts that enable shoppers to gaze into the back of the stores.

The new storefront around boutiques including fashion label Tory Burch and luxe bags brand Coach has lengths of steel and super-clear glass, giving it an elegant feel.

Welcome to the new 26-year-old mall Wisma Atria, whose spiffy lines are giving the next-door Ion mall a run for its money.

The new $31-million facade, which spans 123m, is designed to appeal to the mid- to upmarket retail crowd.

Project director Angelene Chan of DP Architects, which designed it, says the mall owners, YTL Starhill Global, "wanted a makeover to establish a stronger presence featuring more expansive glazed shopfront with a striking and dynamic envelope".

She adds that the new crystalline facade, which covers much of the previous blue grid facade, draws inspiration from gemstones. The illuminated steps also "improve visibility and accessibility".

SundayLife! visited on a weekday to ask passers-by and shoppers what they thought of the new facade and how it compared to Ion.

Shipping assistant Nurshida Hussin, 29, saw the flashing lights and initially mistook the new-look Wisma Atria for an extension of Ion. But she says the mall now looks like "a hip version of Ion".

She says: "Wisma used to be all blue and frankly, quite boring. Now it looks just like a new mall at Orchard. It's so glitzy."

Mr Firdaus Omar, 27, who works as a barista in town, says Wisma Atria "looks much classier now. There're lights over at Ion too, so it suits the area".

Filipino tourist Chat Cleofas, 39, was equally impressed by the new look. "It looked a bit old before but now it looks more modern. The lights at night make it very pretty too," says the businesswoman, who comes to Singapore several times a year to shop and visit friends.

Retailers at Wisma Atria such as Tag Heuer are also pleased with the new look. A Tag Heuer spokesman says: "There aren't many duplexes in the highly sought-after shopping belt of Orchard Road. The prominent display space does provide a fantastic exposure for our brand."

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