Converting shoppers into museum-goers
Building a shopping centre in a city is quite common. Building a city around a shopping centre? Less so. Such was the case in Sotra Kystby, one of Norway’s most western points. In a bid to extend the mall’s programme, the client challenged us to transform the centre into the beating heart of what was once an isolated fishing community and is now home to the high-tech subsea industry. In response, we proposed an island discovery centre that doubles as a gathering-cum-education space. The result converts shoppers into museum-goers, opening up content to a new, younger audience.
Design for locals, with locals
To develop a bricks-and-mortar model that appealed to Sotra Kystby inhabitants, we first had to understand their needs. Through collaborative sessions with representatives of the local industry, schools and museums, we collected valuable insights to translate into the centre’s design and narrative. Shopping-centre visitors were seeking experiences that surpassed the purchase of products; they wanted a place for socializing, enjoyment and recreation. A lot of the stories that surfaced focused on nostalgia: fishermen once rowed their boats for half a day to get to the market in nearby Bergen, for example. The juxtaposition of heritage and high-tech served as inspiration for the project.
Part of a bigger picture
Visitors can create their ideal version of the island through a SimCity-style game, inserting infrastructure, retail, leisure and greenery. The multiuser experience sees the city change and evolve each day, the results of which are recorded and used for research and educational purposes – a model for democratic urban planning.
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