The newly opened £1.7bn Westfield London shopping centre has been labelled ‘a missed opportunity’ by a branding consultancy.
Siegel & Gale managing director Fred Burt, who attended the launch yesterday, says, ‘It’s the Westfield London brand itself that left us most disappointed. There’s a balance to be found, and Westfield, of course, needs to play second fiddle to the retailers.
‘However, we feel it is missing an opportunity to create some theatre and drama beyond the stores themselves that would make Westfield an exciting destination in itself, rather than just a convenient collection of retail brands.’
He adds, ‘Today is day one, so let’s see how it goes.’
JHP Design joint managing director Raj Wilkinson, who was at Westfield to see the launch of his consultancy’s La Senza store – which boasted live lingerie models in the windows – was more positive.
He says, ‘Having camped down at Westfield for the past few days ensuring our projects are completed for the opening, one begins to realise what has been achieved, both in terms of logistics and store design.’
The Shepherd’s Bush-based shopping centre, which was officially opened by London Mayor Boris Johnson, comprises more than 280 shops, together with 47 restaurants and bars.
An estimated 20 000 people flocked to the opening ceremony, which featured fashion shows and a performance from pop star Leona Lewis.
Other celebrities in attendence included models Erin O’Connor and Yasmin Le Bon, and pop stars Dannii Minogue and the Sugababes.
In his opening speech, Johnson told the assembled shoppers, ‘As someone who has attracted criticism for the cut of his suits, I’m about to join you.’