Movie about Emporia shopping centre by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor

Swedish shopping centre's swooping entrances "drag people inside" says architect

Movie: in this exclusive video interview from Inside Festival, Joakim Lyth of Wingårdhs explains how the Swedish architecture firm used brightly-coloured curved glass to draw customers inside its Emporia shopping centre.

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

Emporia, which won the Shopping Centres category at this year's Inside Festival, is a shopping mall located to the south of the city of Malmö in Sweden.

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

It features two gaping entrances made out of brightly-coloured curved glass, one amber and one blue.

"Two main entrances lead people into the shopping centre," says Lyth. "They are formed by a double-curved glass [structure]. They should drag people inside the shopping centre."

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

The use of coloured glass continues throughout the building to help lead customers through the shopping centre's figure-of-eight plan.

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

"The coloured glass goes through the whole of the building, different colours are used in different circulation hubs," Lyth explains. "One of the problems with a shopping centre is that they're usually quite hard to find your way around. So [using] strong colours, giving a strong atmosphere and identity to different hubs seemed like a reasonable idea."

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

He adds: "The figure-of-eight is quite a common feature when it comes to shopping centres. The curved shape gives you a hint of what's hiding behind the next corner."

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

The building features residential and office units on the levels above the shopping centre, as well as a publicly accessible roof garden on the top.

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

"The municipality demanded that the greenery we took with the shopping centre should be given back," Lyth says. "The roof has no commercial value, so it's just a place where you can relax."

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

The whole project took five years to complete. Lyth says a shopping centre the size of Emporia only became viable in Malmö when the Öresund Bridge, which connects Sweden to Denmark, opened in 2000.

"It made part of Malmö, where Emporia now is situated, closer to the international airport of Copenhagen than Copenhagen itself," he says. "That was a tremendous shift in the region and made it possible for [the site where Emporia was built] to gain a lot of new value."

Emporia shopping centre in Malmo by Wingardh Arkitetkontor

Despite the large number of shopping centres in the area, Lyth believes Emporia stands out.

"The building is performing pretty well," he says. "I think that people really like the atmosphere, the ambience. It's something different than the normal shopping centre."

Joakim Lyth of Wingardh Arkitektkontor
Joakim Lyth of Wingårdh Arkitektkontor

Inside Festival 2013 took place at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 2 to 4 October. The next Inside Festival will take place at the same venue from 1 to 3 October 2014. Award entries are open February to June 2014.