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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Green, Fun City

Opened in December, the Changi City Point mall offers the experience of shopping in a garden
The Straits Times - February 4, 2012
By: Natasha Ann Zachariah
| More
Green, Fun City Changi City Point

A new mall has been creating quite a buzz in what used to be a quiet part of the east.

Changi City Point along Changi Business Park Central 1 opened last December and has been drawing shoppers and office workers with its welcome mix of retail and F&B tenants.

Ms Stephanie Finley, 26, a senior engineer for Baxter Healthcare, whose office is a five-minute walk from Changi City Point at the DB Schenker building, says: 'Previously, there was hardly any life around the place after work and you had to travel to Simei or Tampines to get lunch.

'Now, everything from food to shopping and even bars are right here. You can chill out and there's no need to rush home to get out of here.'

The mall is located directly opposite Singapore Expo and business parks in the area. There is no residential area nearby but come weekends, the mall has long queues waiting to get into its carparks. On both weekends and weekdays, its two foodcourts and restaurants are packed.

A big draw for shoppers as well is the mall's discount outlet stores for brands such as Nike, Lacoste, Esprit, adidas and Timberland.

The mall is part of an integrated mix that includes a business park and a hotel in a joint development project by Ascendas Land and Frasers Centrepoint. Both the business park and hotel will be completed by the end of this year.

But it is not just the convenience of a mall in the once secluded area that has gotten people talking.

Its design has been getting the thumbs-up too. There are green features everywhere you look - a huge sprawling garden, filled with flowers, sits prettily atop the entire roof of the three-storey mall.

Peer down from the rooftop and a sea of green greets you, from patches of astro turf planted on top of outdoor gazebos to a pond filled with fish.

Indoors, shoppers can chill out in courtyards with mini waterfall and landscaped gardens.

Senior associate architect Neeraj Sharma from Aedas, an international firm behind the project's design, says the idea was to create a 'mall in a garden', rather than just filling the mall with decorative plants.

Ms Neeraj, who is the team leader for the project, explains: 'We want to bring the outdoors indoors and have natural elements such as sunlight and greenery as part of the shopping experience. It's not a mall where you are cut off from what's happening outside when you enter it.'

The 207,000 sq ft mall, which took 20 months to build, is also child-friendly with ample seating throughout, wide walkways and a huge auditorium area for kids to run around in. There are also nursing rooms at all levels and a family hub on Level 2, which includes a baby spa and an indoor playground and party facility called Petite Park.

Housewife Suravi Sharma, who lives in Tampines and has a three-year-old daughter, says: 'Most times, you get malls which are too much of a concrete jungle and are too busy. It's hard to let your children play and run around. But here, there are many amenities for children and its nature theme adds a calming feel to the area.'

For residents who live at the nearby Upper Changi Road and Simei estate, the mall, for now, is a quieter alternative compared to the busier Tampines Mall or White Sands mall in Pasir Ris.

Engineer Alan Ng, 30, who was visiting the mall for the first time on Thursday, says he will be back.

The Simei resident says: 'Many shopfronts are uniquely designed and there are many resting spots throughout the mall. I hope that it won't become too crowded that I can't enjoy the space anymore.'

From indoor courtyards to floating swans, here are some features to look out for at Changi City Point

TREEHOUSE TRAIL AND HIDEAWAYS

The two-storey treehouse trail acts as a connector between the rooftop garden and amphitheatre to the wet play area. From the rooftop garden, walk down the stairs where the treehouse (left) makes for a perfect viewing gallery to the rest of the green areas of the mall below. If you want to sneak away from the crowds, duck into these cosy hideaway pavilions (right). There are three of them behind the wet play area that are covered in vines.

ART IN THE PARK

Local artist Edwin Cheong, who created a commemorative sculpture for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010, was commissioned to create kinetic art installations and interactive sculptures around the mall.

While most of the sculptures are not yet ready, his first of two swans floating in a pond (left) has been unveiled. At night, these metallic creatures, which are activated by motion sensors, will light up and float towards you.

ROOFTOP GARDEN

Head to the top of the building to enjoy the breeze. Given that it is built between two taller buildings, the mall is located in a wind tunnel of sorts and is in a prime spot to catch the north and southern winds. Colourful blossoms line the walkway and attract butterflies. There is also a 450-seat amphitheatre at the rooftop garden. The mall's management has made plans for the Very Special Arts Singapore, a non-profit organisation for people with disabilities, to perform.

OPEN-CONCEPT TOILETS

Like the public toilets at the Singapore Zoo and the Botanic Gardens, the ones at Changi City Point have an open concept to allow natural ventilation and they feature plenty of greenery. The mall also has two children-only toilets - one in basement one, which is located next to the toilets for adults, and the other on Level 2 in the wet play area.

WATER PLAY AREA

This children's play zone on Level 2 of the mall features a merry-go-round, cascading waterfalls and water jets. Remember to take along an extra set of clothes.

BICYCLE PARKING AREA

As the mall sits along a popular cycling route from East Coast to Changi, a bicycle parking area has been set up at a space known as The Arena so that bikers can safely lock their two-wheelers and head inside to rest and refuel. This area scores in the design stakes with its simple yet functional design.

INDOOR COURTYARDS

Get a breath of fresh air in one of three courtyards around the mall, which have features such as a waterfall, koi pond and a garden. The open-air courtyards are enclosed in a glasshouse-like structure and are designed to let natural light and ventilation into the mall. You can buy fish food from the pet store in the basement to feed the fish.

SHOP DESIGNS

The garden theme extends to the shop designs.

For example, the Soup Spoon outlet in basement one has seedlings planted in old mineral water bottles which are hung up to grow.

And instead of pushcart shops, smaller retail outfits are housed in shops that are designed to look like greenhouses.

Additional garden-themed decor around the mall includes tree-like structures decorated with bird cages, and the earthy green and brown flooring.

 

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