JHP talking shop with Dutch precinct concepts

JHP has presented first concepts to Dutch property investor Corio for a floor-to-ceiling revamp of its 22 000m2 Middenwaard shopping centre in the town of Heerhugowaard, north of Amsterdam.

The consultancy hopes to command a six-figure fee from the project, which could include an identity revamp (existing marque pictured) and graphics work, in addition to interiors, wayfinding and lighting design.

A £5m design budget has been earmarked for what JHP director Steve Collis calls ‘initial cosmetic refurbishment’.

Built in the 1970s, the shopping centre is surrounded by a number of on-going retail developments, which make an already old-fashioned space look dated, says Collis. The brief is to create a comprehensive design solution that modernises Middenwaard, while fitting in with a wider regeneration masterplan for the town.

The specifics of JHP’s work will cover changes to the physical space, including the ‘re-energising of public spaces’, says Collis.

Collis adds, ‘The biggest issue is the planning. In the 1970s, there was an architectural obsession with diagonals. As soon as they enter the current space, customers are confronted with a 45-degree corner and then another shortly after. It’s a like a grid of diamonds – shoppers can’t remember where they are. You could say cutting out those corners is part of the challenge we face.’

Along with creating ‘points of interest’ in the mall, such as space for outside coffee bars and temporary events or exhibitions, lighting is also a key area, Collis maintains.

He says, ‘There’s excessive glazing in some areas, where it’s brighter in the mall than it is in the shops. Elsewhere, there are some really dark corridors. We need to let in more natural daylight in a considered way.’

JHP won a three-way credentials pitch in mid-July. It is collaborating on the project with Dutch contractor De Geus and marketing consultancy The Public Opinion, which is handling the public communication of the town’s broader redevelopment.

The project is due for completion in 2005.

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