Mall plays with soundscape to create an experiential journey

A transformation that involves the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch

The seating area with water fountain at the escalator lobby.

The seating area with water fountain at the escalator lobby.

PETALING JAYA: As a mall that has been in business for 21 years, Sunway Pyramid saw the strategic importance of creating experiences for their shoppers in face of intense competition both from the onslaught of online shopping and more new malls opening in the Klang Valley.

Those who visited Sunway Pyramid recently may have seen and enjoyed the stack of escalators that connects the upper-level car park floors to the retail floors through its latest asset enhancement exercise worth approximately RM250,000.  

Dubbed as ‘Oasis Garden’, the exercise saw the creation of a rainforest-like environment across six floors of escalator decks through creative use of sight, sound, smell and touch in generating a life-like experience.

“When we were identifying the areas to bring out the soundscape, the escalators stood out in terms of importance and conduciveness. As two-thirds of our mall traffic utilises those escalators which translated into two million visitors per month, the location represented a strategic value to make an impression to a great number of visitors,” said Sunway Malls & Theme Parks chief executive officer HC Chan.

HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.

 

“The whole idea of Oasis Garden was to create a pleasant transition for people walking from the parking bays to the retail space and vice versa,” he continued.

“Furthermore, the car park is a relatively harsh environment without air-conditioning. The mall can be a very crowded place, and the sight of a rainforest-like garden helps to change the feel and mood of the shoppers, allowing them to experience something soothing, refreshing and therapeutic, said Chan.

The escalators, connecting CP7 to CP2 parking floors at the Orange Atrium, now features artificial greenery with sounds of birds chirping, crickets, frogs and monkeys. The sounds of flowing water and gushes of wind complemented the entire “garden”, creating an immersive sound experience for shoppers.

“To ensure we achieve the right soundscape, we sought the assistance of Professor Matthew Sansom, the associate dean of Sunway University School of Arts and Head of Performance and Media. He has had 20 years of experience working with sound and he explores the relationship of sound with people and the environment,” said Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls.

Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls.

Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls.

“The sounds of nature helped to mask the sounds of the escalator mechanism, car screeches, and just general white noise from the crowd. Authentic sound from 17 species of birds was used to create this soundscape,” Chin explained.

The mall has further enhanced Oasis Garden with scents of the forest, to create an even more wholesome experience for its shoppers.

In many ways, Oasis Garden also serves as an awareness that Sunway is committed to the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals. Rainforests play an essential role in ensuring the eco-system of life on land is well preserved.

It took the mall over six months to get Oasis Garden to where it is today.

“We also have a Paradise Garden in Lower Ground 1, just outside the Blue Entrance. It’s a seating area with real plants since it’s in the outdoors but the next area we are looking at to implement soundscape is our newly-refurbished Main Entrance at the Ground Floor. Professor Sansom is currently studying the area,” said Chin.

“Our success with Oasis Garden shows that we can turn science into art, and we can translate a space into something people can enjoy. When a visit to the mall is delightful, we know we have done something right for our shoppers,” concludes Chan.

The green journey began from CP7, the mall's car park rooftop.

The green journey began from CP7, the mall’s car park rooftop.

Asset enhancement exercises are common for Sunway Pyramid as the mega mall went through a series of activities to keep abreast. It underwent an extensive renovation and expansion back in 2007 and added a new retail podium known as Sunway Pyramid West in 2015.

Amongst the various priorities to sustain a retail or mall business, customer loyalty is a significant priority. However, the quest for customer loyalty has become increasingly challenging with evolving expectations.

Not only do customers at present have a high expectation of service and quality of products, but they have also come to expect more holistically and gravitate towards brands who can creatively engage with them.

In recent times, such demands created the need for retailers and malls to expedite and embrace what is termed as ‘experiential shopping’ in a bid to ensure their continued relevancy.

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