Melbourne's Eastland Shopping Centre becomes design test bed

13th February 2018

A radical redesign of the Eastland Shopping Centre in suburban Melbourne, Australia, has been completed, in the first of a number of proposed projects to revitalise shopping centres.

Developer QIC has overhauled the 1960s development by implementing a design created by a partnership between three London agencies: ACME, Universal Design Studio, and Softroom. The agencies were appointed and overseen by project manager/creative director Seventh Wave, with all parties working closely with Maroondah Council.

The project is seen as a test case to demonstrate ways that commercial and civic spaces can coexist to form real public facilities for local communities, with QIC planning further refurbishments along the same principles.

Architecture practice ACME design the 120 room Sage Hotel, a town square space, a sculptural entrance – called the Shard – to the mall, a library and a civic centre, the David Jones department store, and a number of multi-storey car parks.

The new Town Square inverts the original inward-facing masterplan of the site, offering a new and more civic focus to the area. Shoppers are encouraged outside the original indoor mall into a new sequence of public spaces.

Universal Design Studio was responsible for the interiors of the central mall, and of the smaller link malls.

Softroom designed a large glass rooflight that links the existing parts of Eastland with the new Town Square.

Universal Design Studio director Jason Holley describes the development as an “… ambitious project, responding to the need to redefine the shopping mall as a civic space, a true destination that merges the commercial and the cultural and become an anchor in the community.”