Belgrade – A new 45,000-sq-m shopping complex by Ran & Morris Architecture combines fun and functionality with a children’s slide, cinema, and chill-out areas. The sleek design and multifunctional public spaces of the much-anticipated Big Fashion Mall seeks to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.
Inspired by the location of the complex on the banks of the Danube River, Ran & Morris sought to incorporate the atmosphere of the natural landscape into the design. Brown and blue-grey graphic elements line the façade and create harmony with the surrounding environment. The interior also contains hints of nature, bridging the connection to the outside.
A natural timber construction in the food court and six large skylights enable ample daylight to penetrate the mall and add warmth to the space. Pebble-style seating adds a grounded sense of earth and accentuates the paved flooring, which is further enhanced by hand-painted, stylized flower graphics in focal locations.
In competition with three other major shopping centres in the city, the Big Fashion Mall leverages a unique concept inspired by the romance of the street retail experience. The architects wanted to retain and refresh the values and charms of the street market tradition, combining function with recreation.
Contemporary elements and materials have been integrated into the design, to prevent the space from feeling too rustic through the overuse of a natural palette. Geometric light fixtures, concrete benches, and terrazzo flooring in the food court maintain a mood of modernity.
The exterior appearance was carefully considered by the architects, who chose to keep a clean and consistent façade corresponding with the preserved trees in front of the building, in lieu of the shopping-centre archetype with varied heights. The result is a unified structure despite its diverse internal functions.
Ran & Morris also introduced style parameters for the storefronts. Instead of set guidelines, tenants were provided with a fixed 'frame' surrounding the stores' vitrines, within which there were no design restrictions. A distinctive approach to signage ensures continuity throughout the building, improving navigation and orientation within the mall. Sporadically placed areas for relaxation add pops of colour to the neutral backdrop and provide a respite to guests when needed.
The Tel Aviv-based designers believe that their strength lies in their differing approaches to design. With a decade separating them in age, their diverse perspectives allow them to create fresh and innovative spaces without compromising function and practicality.
Lead architect Karen Barnett
Lighting design MK Lighting Design
Decorative Lighting design Ariel Zuckerman
Light fixture production Basic Collection
Floor graphics Scroll Studio
Signage Yugo Art