Airports are a global type – places of permanent transience, always open for business. Airport retail is equally a curious mix of shabby fast food and the lure of duty free. Our ambition for this project was to completely rethink this traditional perception and create a retail place that is generated from an idea of urbanism and authenticity. As the final international departure experience our desire was to leave visitors with a memory of Melbourne’s civic grandeur.
Our design response draws from the cultural and physical characteristics of the city. The new pedestrian precincts reflect Melbourne’s distinctive urban forms. The luxury retail, revamped convenience strip and food tenancies at the gate lounges are re-imagined as the grand arcade, the Laneway and the Food Emporium respectively.
The vibrant design incorporates a hidden lighting system, concurrent with the custom gold applied finish, which creates variated brightness through the reflection on the faceted panels. The Luxury retail arcade takes advantage of its existing double-height space, in order to pay homage to Melbourne’s grand arcades with their magnificent ceilings and decorative floors.
To overcome the challenge of constructing on a ‘live-site’ a pre-fabricated ceiling system was adopted. This allowed the ceiling structure to be assembled off-site from a kit of parts, to ensure minimal impact on passengers’ experience.
The Laneway precinct is fast-paced and condensed by comparison, it forms a transition from Luxury to convenience shopping with the vibrancy of the city’s laneways. The journey to the departure lounges features a selection of strategically located cafes and bars, culminating in the great Food Emporium, showcasing the best of Melbourne’s restaurants.