|Santa Monica Place recently opened over the weekendóan almost decade long project in development, costing up to 265 million dollars in an effort to open up the pre-existing Santa Monica mall into an open environment allowing for indoor and outdoor pedestrian shopping and greater integration of the landscape. |
Santa Monica Place was originally a three story mall designed by architect Frank Gehry in the early 1980's. The project hoped to bring department stores to the area, and was successful in this one concern. However, with time the shopping center began to lose interest from customers with the opening of the Third Street Promenade not far away. Now the Santa Monica Place reopens with a new, modern design hoping to recreate interest.
The project was funded by Macerich, a company which specializes in operating and developing shopping centers. Santa Monica Place was designed to allow for constant pedestrian flow, though many have complained that this concern has eliminated many of the previously available seating areas. An important aspect to any public space is the amount of seating and whether or not it is operable on a personal scale. Without enough spaces for the public to rest, a public space can lose a great amount of its potential occupants. However, it is highly doubtful that Macerich is at all concerned with pleasing the customer's sense of comfort, and is probably rather interested in purchases and financial success.
Santa Monica Place also incorporates several hanging canopies that surround the entrances to every shop, allowing shoppers to navigate the entirety of the complex without getting wet in the case of rain. The store fronts are vibrant and colorful, and the project paid special attention to Santa Monica's art community, funding a mural by Pharoe and including art installations from the local community.