Shopping centre design of the future

Winston Churchill once said: “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” A simple yet profound statement as we start to see architecture design rapidly evolving to accommodate our needs as the human race.

Jean-Pierre Heim, Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Architect for HEIM Design who will also be presenting his interesting insights at the 22nd Annual SACSC Congress, said that the shopping centre design of the future revolves around evoking a ‘sense of spirit’ to each visitor who opens its doors. “The building design of tomorrow will focus on ‘spirit’. Yes, shopping centres across the globe are different, not only geographically-they have different cultures and social differences. The most important aspect is to show people that shopping centres of the future are designed for them, for their children-according to their local climate, geography and social culture. That said, to add a sense of ‘spirit’ to a building is far from being an easy task. In China this is called Feng Shui, in the Western World it is called integration. That fine line between function, form and harmony with tenants and shoppers is the key to adding a sense of ‘spirit’ in terms of new shopping centre design,” he said.

Jean-Pierre is regarded as a visionary designer who has created a variety of unique projects around the world. He has designed a number of awe-inspiring projects such as the French Luxury brand flagship stores in New York and Paris, Capitol Music Theatre in Frankfurt Offenbach, the Luxor Palace in Dresden, Brasserie La Lorraine restaurant in Paris, Thalassa Restaurant in New York ,Villas in Miami , the Coral Beach Club resort in Sint Maarten, and his current projects include the Gu Resort in Pagan, Myanmar, Las Velas Resort and Marina in Luperon, Dominican Republic and East Havana new tourist destination in Cuba.

In Jean-Pierre’s presentation at the SACSC Annual Congress, he will look into the symbolism in architecture and design, and how to look deeper into forms and functions presenting his new vision in the form of his new concept for the Delos Museum in Greece. “Our main philosophy is to reunify geography, climate and culture. A good example of this is the eco-tourist village in China that aims to transform an existing native village into a modern eco-resort that offers a variety of activities and spaces. In this project we have approached the re-design of this eco-tourist village using the “One Belt, One Road” development strategy that focuses on the connectivity and cooperation between China and the rest of Eurasia. In my presentation at the SACSC Congress, I will also talk about the emerging new retail design of shopping centres of the future and what developers, shoppers and tenants can expect,” he said.

Amanda Stops, Chief Executive Officer for the South African Council of Shopping Centres, said that Jean-Pierre highlights a very important aspect of the shopping centre industry. “South African shopping centres, as world class as our offerings are, have begun to incorporate more innovative design in their offerings. We are starting to see many aspects being integrated into refurbishments or new developments that have the consumer in mind. Jean-Pierre has many interesting aspects of design to share with delegates at this year’s Annual Congress. This year we celebrate the game changers and help others change the game. The 22nd SACSC Annual Congress is an industry event not to be missed,” she said.

This year’s line-up of speakers will see the likes of Lebo Gunguluza, Polo Leteka, Gil Oved, Vusi Thembekwayo and Vinny Lingham of Dragons’ Den South Africa fame address delegates at the Business Lunch. Other speakers include Jeremy Gardiner, leading economist and a seasoned SACSC Congress speaker who will put a spotlight on current affairs, economics and investment markets as well as the state of consumer finances and debt levels; inflation rate; interest rates and the exchange rate. Alan Knott Craig who spoke at last year’s SACSC Research Conference will speak about the changing internet and where it will be in the next five years. According to Alan, the first wave of the internet was virtual and people orientated. Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay all exist on the internet without touching the real world. The second wave will mash the virtual and physical world and will connect both people and machines.

UBER’s Shavaye Govender, head of Strategic Partnerships & Uber for Business for Sub-Saharan Africa will speak on the current trends in retail transportation which include the history of Uber and the drivers of exponential growth, current mobility trends in the retail industry and how the vision of Uber fits into the lifestyle of shoppers. Zak Venter, the founder of the influential South African brand S.P.C.C - Sergeant Pepper Clothing Company will speak on the story-telling of brands. According to Zak, every brand has an authentic story to tell, the best brands find a unique way to capture an aspect of their customers humanity and reflect this back to them through honest, authentic, engaging communication and brand narrative. Zak will share his start-up story and unique ability to inspire a movement through authentic storytelling in the digital age. More speakers will be revealed closer to the date.

The SACSC Annual Congress has become an event that not only brings up-to-date information and industry networking, it also celebrates the country’s retail, shopping centre and associated industries. The event, sponsored by Broll Property Group takes place at the Durban International Convention Centre from October 17 – 19 October 2018. Bookings are now open and those interested in attending may register online by visiting: or email: or call the SACSC Head Office on +27 (0) 10 003 0228.

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