Bluewater to appoint designers for exhibition venue

Bluewater is looking to appoint design groups to work up concepts for a new exhibition and events venue, which will open next to its shopping centre in Kent.

Designers will be required to create a separate identity for the venue, as well as potential lighting, interior and landscape blueprints for the adjoining 5200m2 site. Themed events and specialist leisure shows, connected to Bluewater’s retail offers, will be hosted at the venue. The intention is to drive up footfall, increase dwell time and boost sales across the complex. Denton Corker Marshall is the lead architect on the scheme.

Design appointments will follow only when planning permission has been secured, says a Bluewater spokesman. Earlier this month, Lend Lease Retail submitted a planning application to Dartford Borough Council to develop the site.

The new venue will be integrated into Bluewater’s current development. The proposals involve reconfiguring some key existing areas, as well as broadening the casual dining and public space to provide more seats.

‘A fully integrated events space was always part of the original design proposals, so this scheme will be serviced by many of Bluewater’s existing infrastructure and parking facilities. We hope to host a variety of different events and shows which will appeal to a cross section of people, as well as appealing to specific groups at any one time. This could include such things as specialist leisure shows and a variety of themed events connected to the retail offer,’ says Matt Clements, executive general manager at Bluewater.

Bluewater opened seven years ago and is set within 20ha of landscaped parkland in North West Kent. It currently accommodates more than 330 retailers. The shopping centre is designed in a triangular formation with three distinct malls and leisure villages.

Ebbsfleet Valley, a mixed use development that also sits adjacent to Bluewater, is currently being developed by Land Securities. Hat Trick Design was appointed to create its identity, following a credentials and strategy pitch against Pentagram, Wolff Olins and To The Point (DW 26 January).

Bluewater – a retail design showcase

• Bluewater shopping centre original ‘white horse’ identity by Minale Tattersfield

• Architect Benoy created the original concepts for the site when it was part of Fitch. It was developed by US architect Eric Kuhne

• Bluewater opened in 1999. Design groups that have created store interiors include: Dalziel & Pow, Checkland Kindleysides, 20/20, Conran Design Group, Lumsden Design Partnership, Caulder Moore

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