Designers give retail therapy to Bucharest

Burrows Cave and Edinburgh-based lighting specialist LDPI are working on the interiors and branding of a 6ha shopping centre in Romanian capital Bucharest, due for completion next year.

Plaza Romania aims to bring contemporary retail values to an architectural relic of the former Ceausescu regime. The £30m project centres round what was conceived as one of seven ‘people’s refectories’, never completed before the dictator’s overthrow in 1989.

Turkish developer Anchor Mall has acquired two of the sites, which are known as ‘Ceausescu’s domes’ after the building’s main feature. Plaza Bucharest, also designed by the consultancy pairing, opened in 1999, but the aim now is to create much more ‘theatrical’, destination-style offering, says LDPI managing director Lawrie Nisbet.

The groups will meet the client at the end of the month to sign off the final elements of the design phase. However, the brand identity and signage for the scheme has yet to be addressed, according to Burrows Cave director John Burrows.

Plaza Romania will be ‘more refined than anything [the country] has previously seen’, he says.

Nisbet adds, ‘It’s about bringing Western sophistication to the marketplace’. The lighting design – introducing ‘colour and movement’ – will make the development a ‘visual beacon with the urban landscape’.

The masterplan has retained the central atrium, comprising a basement and three floors, and surrounded it with a hemispherical retail and leisure complex.

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