Science and shopping is not a logical combination. In Bergen, Norway, however, they have brought these two together in order to attract more local people like families, teenagers and school groups to the main shopping mall, the Sotra Kystby Sartor Senter. This week the newly built science centre Sotra Vitensenter AS, of which planning, design and development has been executed by NorthernLight and Bruns, will officially open its doors. This initiative is a great example of an innovative way to increase the attraction value of shopping malls, increase revenues and to emphasize the social character that shopping malls have.

Many shops in Europe are struggling due to the increased competition from online shopping. One way to fight back is to leverage the biggest advantage that brick and mortar shops and shopping malls have: a physical location. When consumers visit a shopping mall, they are looking for an experience that goes beyond buying products. They look for a place to socialize and entertain themselves. Many shopping malls in Asia and the Middle East show that combining shopping with other forms of entertainment drives growth. Moreover, it helps to fulfil the need of local communities to have a place to congregate.

Sotra Vitensenter AS in Sotra Kystby Sartor Senter is a unique initiative as it combines entertainment and education. The science centre is being developed for and by the community and reflects the strong traditions of a once isolated fishing community, which is nowadays the thriving centre of Norway’s high-tech deep-sea fishing industry. The science centre has been designed in close cooperation with the local community; Through sessions with representatives of the local industry, schools and museums NorthernLight has collected valuable insights that have been used for the design and authentic stories that are told in the centre. Sotra Vitensenter AS will be a place for everybody to relax, learn and have quality family time. Through fun, exploration and experimentation, visitors can explore the past, present and future of Sotra Kystby.

photos: Thor Brodreskift /Sotra Vitensenter AS