Benoy, the international firm of Architects, Masterplanners, Interior and Graphic Designers, has recently launched two new projects on-site, Centrum Chodov and Prado, expanding the practice’s European built portfolio.
These recent Benoy schemes in Europe are a sign of the creative and innovative, yet commercially pragmatic, approach to retail-led projects throughout the region.
In Prague in September, Unibail-Rodamco hosted a ceremony to officially launch the construction phase of Centrum Chodov’s refurbishment and extension. This is Benoy’s second major project in the Czech capital, continuing the success of Centrum Černý Most, which opened in 2013.
When extended to 100,000m2, Centrum Chodov, a ‘Transport Oriented’ project, will become the country’s largest commercial development, offering new retail and leisure accommodation at the highest international standards.
Benoy’s design will extend the existing shopping centre and relocate the food offer to anchor a new ‘Dining Experience’. This addition will ensure Centrum Chodov continues its market dominance in the Southeast district of Prague.
Key to the new identity are the elevations; they are conceived with a signature ‘Ribbon’ feature which is immediately visible as a piece of signage sculpture and is positioned over the building and mall circulation. The elevations act as a layer of ‘Floating silk’ visible from the highway and connecting roads. Its purpose also frames the entertainment levels and allows for strong night promotion using LED lighting.
In Marseille, Benoy’s Prado reinterprets the ‘classic Department Store’ model with Retail planned around a central ‘Grand hall’. This project with five trading levels launched on-site with a stone laying event in September.
Prado is planned in a visually exciting fashion around the large open atrium space with galleries and terraces tiered over the trading levels. The centre is ‘covered’ rather than traditionally enclosed and has open roof terraces accessed from the main atrium.
The 16,000m2 of quality green public realm provided not only illustrates the sustainable aspirations of the scheme, but continues the green tradition of the surrounding neighbourhoods and ensures there are views of the beautiful landscaping throughout.
The greenery and atria will create a new internal street which embraces the ‘Vertical village’ accommodating Retail, cafés and restaurants above.
Benoy’s exposure to this type of multi-level trading, more familiar in the East, demonstrates the connectivity of the firm’s Design Studios and international appreciation of innovative solutions.
Benoy has a long established reputation for successful and creative designs throughout its native United Kingdom and in Asia; the European portfolio, overseen by Director and Head of Europe Robert Bishop, has now developed to parallel this exposure with an increasing number of completed, on-site and planned projects.
“As we expand and diversify our global offer, we are also seeing continued interest from our clients in Europe because we are able to provide great design in fiscally constrained environments,” said Robert.
He added, “Our aim is to deliver visually evocative, contextual and exciting schemes which can accommodate international brands and create space for the best local offers; we believe the architecture and a varied leasing strategy can help connect our projects to the community – understanding the regional diversity from across Europe.”
Centrum Chodov is scheduled to open in 2017. Prado is planned for completion in 2018.