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Swire Properties unveils “A New Frame of Mind” for Pacific Place

23 Jul 2008

Swire Properties unveils “A New Frame of Mind” for Pacific Place

Swire Properties today announced its Pacific Place Design Improvement Project under the theme of “A New Frame of Mind”. Capturing the company’s forward approach, the Design Improvement Project aims to pre-empt the ever-changing needs of Hong Kong shoppers and elevate the positioning of this premier shopping and mixed use project in Hong Kong.

The Pacific Place Design Improvement Project, which involves interior, exterior and architectural refinement, is expected to cost over HK$1.5 billion. The mall will remain open for business throughout the project period.

“In our management of Pacific Place, Swire Properties’ flagship portfolio, we have always been committed to bringing exceptional value to shoppers, diners, residents, hotel guests and business people. We will continue to set the highest standard for Hong Kong’s shopping mall industry and mixed use projects.” said Mr. Jolyon Culbertson, Director and General Manager of Swire Properties.

“This Improvement Project together with the opening of a 117-room hotel from the conversion of Atrium serviced apartments which is scheduled to open in Fall 2009, mark another milestone in the evolution of the Pacific Place complex. The complex has already seen the addition of Three Pacific Place and its link to the MTR station and the redesign and reconfiguration of Pacific Place Apartments. Our invitation to international award winning designer Thomas Heatherwick as the stimulus and creative spirit behind the improvements, was intended to challenge previous norms and to introduce a new aesthetic to Pacific Place.” said Mr Culbertson.

Celebrated for his innovative use of materials and his sculptural aesthetics, Thomas Heatherwick is known for his architecture as art. Based in London, Mr Heatherwick’s acclaimed works include the Rolling Bridge in London, East Beach Café in Littlehampton and La Maison Unique for Longchamp in New York. Heatherwick Studio is also designing the British Pavilion for Shanghai Exposition, 2010.

“Pacific Place is a true icon of elegance,” Mr. Heatherwick remarked. “The Improvement Project will build on this and add modern sophistication to Pacific Place. To achieve this, an organic approach will be taken. Natural forms and materials will be applied to exemplify Pacific Place’s new look.”

A key concept that adds a special touch behind Mr. Heatherwick’s design is “fluidity”. Using fluid, streamlined shapes in soft, warm tones, the complex will literally embody a new frame of mind—a highly tactile design that will make Pacific Place an exceptional venue for all the senses. To complement this natural and organic new look, wood and natural stone have been selected as a principal design element. The mall’s recently-completed washrooms on L1 and L2 next to Lane Crawford Home Department are fine examples of how continuous wood curves create a fluid, wave-like effect.

The fluidity concept will also be applied to the exterior of the complex. At vehicle arrival level, or Pacific Place Drive on level 4 as it is known, the road and pedestrian spaces will be remodeled to provide an organic pedestrian flow that connects each element of the project as well as improving vehicle flow and drop off facilities. A major new canopy is proposed to connect every part of the project by a flowing ribbon design that is at once visually stimulating and physically protective of the elements.

The new design will also focus on convenience by enhancing accessibility. New escalators linking the car park to levels 1 & 2 and additional lift connections at both car park levels will facilitate immediate access for drivers. Increased provision of natural light and enhanced distinctive flowing forms are other key design elements. In addition to the design improvements, a number of new dining venues will be available – most notably a Heatherwick-designed standalone restaurant on level 4 is due to open later this year, the debut of Roka and Shiro and the new dining concepts for Thai Basil and Zen.

“Its’ a careful decision, especially at the time we are making good business, there is no urgent need to execute the renovation. We see the opportunity with this project to reassert our premium position and strengthen our reputation for being a leader and innovator in mixed use projects.” said Mr. Culbertson. “The Improvement Project will clearly be beneficial to tenants and patrons alike. We hope to show our appreciation to them in return for their support over the last almost twenty years and to give them something more to look forward to for the next many years. Lastly of course improving on and continuation of success is important for the shareholders.”

“I think it is a very bold move for Swire Properties to contemplate this project while it is still so profitable,” agreed Mr. Heatherwick. “But I truly believe in its success, and I am proud to be playing a key role in reinforcing the position of Pacific Place as the leading project in Hong Kong.”

With Mr. Heatherwick at the helm of the Design Improvement Project and Swire Properties having a new frame of mind for its flagship portfolio of retail, business and residential offerings, Pacific Place will maintain its competitive edge as a leading mixed use complex in the hub of Hong Kong.