Portugal’s landmark combined shopping mall
Located in Loulé, MAR Shopping Algarve is part of the first commercial destination in Portugal combining a Shopping Centre, Designer Outlet and a fully integrated IKEA Store. Mar Shopping Algarve is quite unique making it the flagship development in the south of Portugal.
Interior design specialists at Keppie were appointed to develop and coordinate the experiential aspects of the indoors shopping spaces. Our designers were introduced to the master concept and the established zoning which offers relief from the hot summer sun. Our role invited a brief period of review/test/ideas as construction was well underway and a limited window for design and technical development existed. That process established a ‘kit of parts’ strategy as our baseline with key nodal gathering spaces, children’s and digital engagement spaces developing as smaller projects within.
Within the nine-month contract our team successfully navigated a collection of design challenges – local building and fire codes, procurement channels and budget. In the end the design ensures the customer’s interface with the mall activity has a human scale with a local context, materials are natural and consistent with Portuguese and Scandinavian traditions. Each mall activity space builds from its function to establish its own personality without drawing-away from the important tenant frontages.
The site-based MAR and Iperplano Architect teams were hugely collaborative making every visit and engagement with them exciting, educational and challenging. Most satisfying was the overwhelming sense of ‘team’ based on mutual respect and each person’s contribution. A collection of bright joyful spaces is created within which our Kit of Parts approach allows centre management teams to quickly and easily reconfigure defined areas for markets, performances and community events. The centre very much is of its community.