Fake or Authentic- Malls Are Our New Public Spaces

August 23, 2017 | Author: Pallavi Rikh | Category: Shopping Mall
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For the current generation of consumers, the meaning of shopping has changed. It is not just merely a necessity, as it ...



Dissertation Topic


Dissertation Guide

Prof. Rupinder Singh

Name of the Student

Pallavi Rikh (005/USAP/2005)

―Fake Or Authentic‖ Malls Are Our New Public Spaces


Dissertation Title


Approval Certificate The following study is hereby approved as a creditable work on the approved subject, carried out and presented in a manner sufficiently satisfactory to warrant its acceptance. It is to be understood that by this approval the undersigned does not necessarily endorse or approve any statement made, opinion expressed or conclusions drawn therein, but approve the study only for the purpose for which it is submitted and satisfies himself as to the requirements laid down by the dissertation committee.

Name of the student

Name of the Guide

Pallavi Rikh

(Prof. Rupinder Singh)


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For the current generation of consumers, the meaning of shopping has changed. It is not just merely a necessity, as it was earlier, but much more than that. The elements that draw customers to the shopping mall include space, ambience and convenience and more over an array of choice under one roof. Malls, which are now anchored by large outlets such as Westside and Lifestyle and are resided by a lot of Indian and international brands, are also being seen as image benchmakers for communities. Thus, this dissertation aims at studying the impact of malls on Indian soil. And factors that make malls quasi/fake public space.

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I would like to express my sincerest thanks and gratitude to my guide Prof. Rupinder Singh for his guidance, support and wealth of information which he shared with me and also helped me understand the intricacies of the topic without which I would not have succeeded in writing this paper. I would also like to thank our dissertation coordinator Prof. Ashok Lal for his consistent guidance and update of the study, and for his immense support and guidance. To the people of Select City Walk who helped me in my study Also to the staff of SPA library and my College who helped in arranging for the required data when it was needed the most. I would also like to thank my Classmates and Juniors for providing me with relevant information. And most of all, I would like to thank my parents for their moral support and understanding.

Pallavi Rikh (005/USAP/2005)

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Introduce the concept of malls. It proves the forceful impact of malls in Delhi and NCR. Followed by brief description of Ansal Plaza Khel Gaon, Select City Walk Saket, DLF Emporio Vasant Kunj, DLF City Centre Gurgaon, Ambi Mall Gurgaon, Centre Stage Noida, Great Indian Place Noida. And brief introduction about the upcoming malls such as Grand Venezia and Mall Of India. CHAPTER 2 MALLS ―FAKE‖ PUBLIC PLACES CASE STUDIES

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Include discussion on elements and shopping behaviour that make shopping malls ―quasi/fake‖ public space. It also discusses how malls are successful in keeping the poor away from malls and thus causing class stratification. CHAPTER 3 MALLS AND TELEVISION


Describes that it is not necessary for a space to be a geographical place but conceptually an object can also be a space. Television which is not a place but is a fake public space, hence this chapter tries to relate malls to television. CHAPTER 4 ―FAKE OR AUTHENTIC‖

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In this part we discuss the implication of continuous use of malls in everyday life. CHAPTER 5 BIBLIOGRAPHY


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INTRODUCTION In America there is a myth-the myth of material consumption. Basically, the myth of material consumption tell us that the buying









physical sign of inner goodness and the value of the person possessing








even though what we buy may be a relatively worthless gadget like a salad shooter. And owning new things reconfirms our status in society. We therefore feel compelled to buy a new car even though our old one is still running fine. Or we rush to











though there may be clothes in our closet we bought last year but haven’t even worn yet.1

With rise of suburbs we saw the creation of pseudo-public spaces that looked like public spaces at one level but were characterised by unexpressed key elements of public spaces. These pseudo-public spaces very crucially included the Shopping malls which have come as a Tsunami across the world that has, in a way, wiped out the ephemeral traditional concept of a public space. These malls consistently deal with an endless sociological and a spatial conflict between the parametric meanings of public and private spaces. Simultaneously malls have been outrageously criticised as ugly due to their ―big box‖ appearance that turns its back on and impairs the beauty and pedestrian life of streets around them. Perhaps, many consumers prefer malls due to availability of multilevel spacious parking facility and good private security systems incorporated for personnel or machinery. Despite the presence and onset of numerous controversies being welcomed, the Indian Retail Sector still lingers around the idea of constructing more malls. And the influence that malls have on their surrounding is impeccable, thereby changing in a way the perception of an individual and his peculiar lifestyle. 1

William Severini Kowinski. The Malling of America: An Inside Look at the Great Consumer Paradise, New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1985

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HYPOTHESIS: The existence of malls is akin to a meteor which makes a huge impact on the surface and surrounding when it strikes the Earth. At present malls are triggering off a huge influence on the population, resulting in a selective lifestyle change. These high rise cuboids have become a new favourite place for the dwellers. A rather interesting point to note is that people enjoy going to malls rather than going to a park. It might not be a utopian public space but due to the evolving social life and the emerging diversification of choices of entertainment that we are offered today, malls have become a new public/recreational place for the leisure loving population. SIGNIFICANCE: It is becoming clear that people increasingly choose malls for their recreation and pastime. Even if the prices of commodities in malls are conspicuously high, people still opt for malls. So the main aim is to create such a design so that these malls don‘t just appear as ―faux‖ public space but truly become a public space which increases the communal activity instead of social interaction among groups of peers. With this study we might be able to identify loose ends which hinder these malls from becoming a ―perfect public space” instead of a “faux” public space. This study also makes us aware of the evil class stratification which persists in the society and by what means these mall developers have inadvertently added to it. METHODOLOGY: I have started by proving the impact of shopping malls on Indian soil, beginning with the first mall in the country and how these huge structures aim to occupy millions of sq ft of area in the future. Thereafter I have undertaken a study towards understanding the phenomenon of public and private space and what makes malls non public but with the airs of ―fake‖ public ambience. The phenomenon of public space clearly defines that the space should be accessible by all without any restriction. Malls, therefore, can hardly be termed as public places. I have made a genuine endeavour to identify how these places have kept a part of the society that is identified as worthless, away from its premises. And ―Fake Or Authentic‖ Malls Are Our New Public Space

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lastly, I have drawn a similarity between malls and television which, physically but conceptually, is a public space. For conducting interviews, a group of people were chosen. STRUCTURE: Beginning with mall as a part of market sector, I traced the history of malls in India, how they spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and are still mushrooming. In the next section, I have aimed to post an argument that even if malls are not entirely a public space they enhance public activities either through design or through various activities that they carry out; shopping being the backbone of the mall. In addition to this, these spaces even provide a positive hangout for all ages. This section also talks about how malls create a “fantasy” world within itself. I have also mentioned about the social stratification caused by the malls and how they have successfully been able to keep the poor or socially lower levels away from these places. I have argued how architecture of a mall, as well as technologies utilized by mall owners amount to a form of social split because they deny access to a certain section of the population. In the third section, I have argued how televisions resemble a fake/quasi public space thereby allowing a comparison between malls and television. Both have vertical activities without any lateral communication among people and surroundings. Finally in the last chapter, I have highlighted how people used to be an active part of the society before the advent of globalisation but after it, they have become more and more involved within themselves. The extent of private property can be identified in the fact that each individual now has a private car and house; they drive in their ‗personal‘ cars to office and back home, leisure being limited to a drive to the mall which, too, is a private sphere for them. PRIVATE HOME



SCOPE AND LIMITATION: Shopping has emerged as potentially a major link to urban development, social and economic well being of the society. It is not only a functional

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necessity but a generator of urban activities. With their unique ability to fulfil varied purposes such as shopping, eating, entertainment, etc malls have become the perfect hub of public activity. Shopping centres have gradually evolved and developed into a society in itself .They have contributed towards forming our habits in an important way. It aims to serve not only as a re creative edifice but also act as hub where most of the city life can happen. This paper does not include detailed study of all the malls in India but a few malls in the City. We did not go into architectural design and ethics of each mall. On the contrary, I have tried to emphasize how these malls, psychologically and sociologically, affect the ideas and perception of the individual who wishes to use them. The study focuses on the concept that makes mall quasi/fake public space and features they have that enhances public activities in these areas. I also stressed upon the fact that how malls barge on various means to keep a part of the society away from the malls without going into intricacies of the adopted means. I also tried to relate malls to television which according to journalists and academicians is a conceptual quasi-public space.

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Chapter I The phenomenon called ―Mall‖ The first mall must have created a wave throughout the world, for when this idea took a concrete form in India it made a forceful impact on the surrounding. In other words it was just like when a meteor enters the earth‘s atmosphere it starts releasing energy and when it lands on the surface it makes such an impact that all the surroundings absorb the energy released from it. Same way when malls emerged it changed lifestyles of the population. The first mall in the world is said to have came up in the 19th century in Paris as a departmental store. India in 1985 saw the first shopping mall on its soil called the Spencer Plaza in Khelgaon. Spencer Plaza, the first departmental store in India was established in 1863-1864 by Charles Durant and J.W. Spencer. After few years the department store was shifted to a new building designed by W.N.Pogson. In 1985 the original building was destroyed in a fire. Now Spencer Plaza covers an area of 250,000 sq ft. The three floors of the arcade are centrally air- conditioned, there is a large atrium in the centre. The plaza also has colourful fountains and water pools. The facilities of the complex include exclusive car lift, bowling alley, skating, squash, virtual reality theatres, swimming pool and health club. The Plaza acts like a mini township with all facilities. But the first ever fully fledged shopping mall in India came up in 1999 in Mumbai, called the Crossroad. It covers an area of 150,000 sq ft, spread over four buildings in the heart of the city. Thousands of people from every part of the city come to experience shopping, entertainment and food in its international ambience every day. Today it is amongst the new malls that mushroomed in either parts of the city. Mall experience for the national capital came only in 2004 with Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon. It is a multiplex shopping mall built on near about 35 acres of land with built up area ―Fake Or Authentic‖ Malls Are Our New Public Space

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of 14,700 sq m. It has world‘s best branded stores. It is a circular mall with open courtyard in the middle, has a 45 ft high atrium with a French glass curtain wall. It has corporate offices on second and third floors. The open air ampi-theatre in the centre is famous for organizing musical shows, kavi sammelans, exhibition and fashion shows. The surrounding area of the mall is beautifully landscaped with plants and fountains. The two major brands at Ansal Plaza are Marks & Spencer and Shoppers‘ Stop. It is called ―one stop shop for all.‖ For the past two years the level of shopping has increased dramatically which traditional places like Chandni chowk and Connaught Place achieved in 30-40 years. Upcoming malls in Delhi have taken shopping experience to a new level. More and more branded stores have opened and number of cineplexes. The two major malls in Delhi are Select City walk in Saket and DLF in Emporio Vasant Kunj. Select City Walk opened in October 2007, covers area of 1,300,000 sq ft with retail as spread over 6 acres. The mall was developed by Select Infrastructure, a joint venture between Select Group and the Aarone Group. The mall is divided into three broad zones: Staple Traditional (family), Celebration (centre-stage) and High Voltage (youth). The mall has 125 stores with over 500 major Indian and international brands. The mall houses Tommy Hilfiger flagship store and Calvin Klien‘s first stand-alone store in India. The mall has a 10,000 sq ft multi-cuisine Food Court with several restaurants. The mall houses PVR Cinemas multiplex, which comprises 6 screens including two gold classes and has a total capacity of 1,235. There is also 100,000 sq ft outdoor open plaza (Sanskriti) for art festivals, fairs, exhibition and performances. The plaza is landscaped extensively in timber, water, stone and steel and has an open-air amphitheatre, along with trees and water features. DLF Emporio opened in August 2008, designed by architect Mohit Gujral and Chandu Chadha in Italian marble, and burnished wood. It has five floors and comprises an area of

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320,000 sq ft. The mall features over 170 brands including 75 International brands. Recently it has opened a 180 seater high end restaurant called Zest with bar, lounge and section style seating, serving 7 International cuisines. But the real development for malls happened in Gurgaon, a sleepy little suburb of the Indian capital New Delhi. In a development that surprised many town planners, Gurgaon transformed itself overnight by first housing the headquarters of many multinational corporations and banks, and then calling itself the "shopping-mall capital of India". The DLF City Centre Mall was the first off the blocks, followed by the MGF Metropolitan Mall and the Sahara Mall. DLF City Centre Mall established in the year 2000, DLF City Centre Mall on MG Road covers an area of 260,000 sq ft. The mall has more than 127 different stores on four different levels. The major attraction here are the DT Cinemas multiplex with 4 screens and has two level basement parking and front parking for more than 700 vehicles. MGF Metropolitan Mall is the second mall to have opened in Gurgaon covering an area of 400,000 sq ft. The Metropolitan Mall houses more than 150 stores having space of 250,000 sq ft. The other NCR of Delhi gave India its first largest mall. The Centre Stage Mall in the commercial hub of Noida that is in Sect-18 in 2003. It Covers an area of 35,000 sq ft, built over 7 acres of land, and is the main shopping hub of Noida. It also has a popular cinema theatre called Waves and the best discotheque in Delhi NCR-Elevates. The mall has eco friendly glass curtains, this glass cuts down heat radiation by 83%, thereby reducing energy consumption. The other mall in the list is Great India Place in sect-38A, Noida. The Mall is a retail and entertainment complex as part of entertainment city, an international standard amusement

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park. It spans over 15 lac sq ft designed by Callison Inc. An exclusive 1.8 lac sq ft of food court with six screen multiplex cinema. Centre stage was the largest mall until Gurgaon came up with -The Ambience Mall. It comprises an area of 1.8 million sq ft. This has around 300 retail shops with 50,000 sq ft large Food Court. It boasts of a sprawling new Five Star hotel complex. It has Spectra, a multicuisine casual dining restaurant serving seven different cuisines. This restaurant is currently India‘s most expensive restaurant. Ambience Mall is like an integrated township where we can get everything. Till recently, Ambience Mall by Ambience Group which holds 1.8 million sq ft spread not less than a kilometre end to end was the largest mall of India. It has huge anchor stores such as Marks & Spencer‘s, Debenhams and many more. Kids Zone is an added attraction of the mall. Open Air Theatre for high-class fashion and music shows. Though it boasts itself of a biggest mall in India, its days of glory will not last. By 2010 DLF will have a 6 million sq ft Mall Of India next to Ambience Mall, while Emaar MGF reportedly has 5.8 million sq ft mall on anvil, replicating its Dubai Mall. The most luxurious mall and India‘s first theme base shopping mall will be The Grand Venezia in Greater Noida with 15 lac sq ft area, 2 lac sq ft commercial space, 9 lac sq ft of parking space and 200 room five star hotel. The theme of this mall is romance and is designed to bring the city of canals and gondolas to elegant European architecture with water bodies and gondolas which will give customers novelty and rich experience. The architecture and interior design is a lavish homage to the beauty of Venice, not seen in India today. The central and the foremost feature of the Mall are the meandering canal and the central piazza evocative of the Piazza San Marco, which is the main atrium of the mall. The canal is designed such that each shop is accessible by it. Grand Venezia mall has an intricate system

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of waterways that allow you to take a ride on a gondola and experience shopping and leisure on a scale as yet unseen in India. An open piazza surrounded by water bodies and landscaped gardens will host a variety of cultural events, brand promotions, product launches and quality live shows making it a landmark entertainment zone. The Grand Venezia will enjoy the unique advantage of being surrounded by the high income group population of Noida, Greater Noida and of course it will also attract people from whole NCR and will be a great tourist place for the tourists coming from other places of India and abroad. ―India is seeing a burst of mall activity, going from none too many. They have to differentiate themselves. At this early stage in the evolution of Indian mall, the differentiator is size‖ says Asitava Senvice president (goods and consumer) KSA Technopak. With such rapid growth of malls, and the level by which each mall is trying to be better than the other, that period is not far when every nook and corner of India will have malls. About half of the malls that are to be constructed will be in Mumbai and Delhi. It seems we are back in the age when dinosaurs used to walk the earth. The difference being that now these huge structures called Shopping Malls will cover the earth surface. Moreover, so vigorous is its impact that this ―one stop‖ mall can serve the wide ranging functions of entertainment, shopping, food courts, hang out with friends and for business. The Indian retail sector is booming and mall growth is being seen as a clear indicator of economic prosperity in India. These shopping cum entertainment options are getting bigger and better along with sporting multiplexes and food courts to woo shoppers. By the end of 2009, over 600 malls will come up occupying more than 150 million sq ft. Now Delhi and the suburbs are witnessing a race without finishing line to build India‘s largest shopping mall. Top names on this race are DLF, Emaar MGF and Unitech.

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Chapter II Malls ―Fake‖ public spaces It is obvious from the previous section that malls are our ―new reality‖ and will continue to dominate our actual lived landscape. What one refers to as the ―Mall‖ is usually the centre atrium or the open space, which now has the stamp of an archetypical place in our psyche. This is a rarefied space—a space for consumption, a space of pure desire without any dire consequences. In other words, the enticing ―Mall place‖ is precisely the id’s writ without any control of the superego. For this effect to be complete, the ―Mall‖ space shuts out the outer world, and then (re)constructs a fantasy world within itself.2 This is a world where even the shop goers are props. We dress up for the ―Mall‖ as one dresses for a role—the Gucci glasses, the Louis Vitton bag, the DKNY shawl, the Dolce&Gabbana dress, the Johnny Choo shoes—forms an ensemble for the role. Even children participate in this fantasy world, and the next stop is Disneyland. Every festival is celebrated in these exalted spaces and you need to have no religion affiliation. In fact, this ―Hallmark‖ of spaces even assists in inventing new festivals—Mother‘s Day, Father‘s Day, Veteran‘s Day, Teacher‘s Day, Secretary‘s Day— each relation and work role is celebrated, glamorized and installed with the correct decorum: in the end all emotions lead to consumerism. The mall developers aspire for this totality of the world of desire, as they note, ―you don‘t need to go to Sarojni market for clothes, Connaught place to eat or any other place; we have it all here in one place.‖ The collection of shops in the shopping mall is managed together and is taken as a single unit. A publication of Urban Land Institute points out ―a group of architecturally unified commercial establishments built on a site which is planned, developed, owned and managed


Margaret Crawford. The World in a shopping Mall: From Variations on a Theme Park., 1992: Editor‘s introduction; Margaret Crawford, professor of Urban Design and Planning theory at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.

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as an operating unit...‖3 In other words, design of a mall and centralized management are the instruments by which the mall creates its special conditions, which help to control the environment created by enclosure and protection. This whole process lies in the initial stage of mall design. However, enclosure, protection and control are the true fruits borne by the tree named ―mall‖. It is a special space that could stand and grow on the roots of its own rules because it is completely isolated from the rest of the world. It is enclosed because psychologically it secludes the user from the outside and creates a special domain within its embrace. For instance, the Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon in Delhi has the main access road as one of its fortress buttresses. One needs to have a car to enter the space, or as a pedestrian have little value for one‘s life. Once inside the complex, the frontage of an overlooking plaza space with pedestrian walkways extends into a landscaped green area. The open-air theatre, water features and tree canopies could easily be the setting for a vibrant open air activity such as flea market or market similar to Janpath, cultural activity etc., but none of this occur in this space. The focus rather is on the inside. Whereas in a typical mall, the subtle and soothing fragrances from a typical Body Shop, the appealing light background music, and the controlled air temperature provide a utopian enclosure in which the shopping interest adds a cutting edge to the whole experience. The mall environment itself is superficial-trees grow out of the tiled floor; plants flourish without sun or rain. Mall staff eats and spend their free time here. Malls have also become a tourist destination, complete with tour guides, souvenirs and hotels in some malls. In a sense, the fragmented functions of modern living are brought together under the malls‘ skylight roof. It is a world brought together through a medium of consumption.


John G. Nachbar. Popular Culture: An Introductory Text. Qtd by Urban Land Institute, an organization that works with the mall industry.

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Probably, the mall goer wants it just this way. After all, nobody goes to the mall to be depressed, to learn anything and certainly not to face the reality. The real world is too troubled with work, education, unemployment, poverty etc hence it is preferable to escape to a place with a good deal of ―positivity‖. The real world drives the people inside the mall where there are sold superficial dreams. The danger of this is that the upper middle class bourgeoisie is completely cut-off from the ground reality. This will happen more pervasively in India, but it has also happened in the US. For example, in the US, Hurricane Katrina was the first time that America actually faced the poverty that reigns supreme in many of the Southern areas—otherwise, poverty is assumed to be directly related to a lack of character to work. This is the ―slip of the mask on the real‖ moment in the US, and then they returned back to their Malls and back to consumption. Same thing will happen in India. For young crowds, mall have become areas in which to hangout, to catch up with friends in joints like Cafe Coffee Day and Barista and many find their first jobs here. There is also an entertainment factor involved as more and more youngsters have begun to see shopping as an enjoyable pastime. This keeps them away from the ground reality of life which might not seem to be very positive to them. Malls possess this quasi/fake public environment—pertaining to a very common notion that --this is my ―biradari‖. What hinders certain use of these spaces is that while the areas seem to be public spaces, they are really private. The privately owned companies that make up the shopping mall have created spaces that are used publicly and in a more communal way. The only public interaction in the mall is between the space and the stores. Visitors here are serious shoppers, attracted by the convenience of buying a wide variety of goods under one roof at affordable prices. But most are at par talking mainly of an altogether new experience gawking at luxury goods, cooling of air conditioned comfort and an ambience seen only in Hollywood movies up till now. Shopping is no longer limited to the ―Fake Or Authentic‖ Malls Are Our New Public Space

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activity of buying. It has become synonymous with splurging time and money. People simply go about roaming through the mall in order to peep through the windows of shops and often end up buying something they like but may not need. And sometimes people merely walk around the mall to window shop. These activities broadly classify shoppers into two: Utilitarian shoppers and Hedonistic shoppers4. Whether it is for shopping, meeting someone, watching a movie, discussions over a cup of coffee, passing time, giving a bash on birthdays or a date, the first place that pops up in mind is a mall. The psychology of these spaces directly relates to the aesthetics of the mall. If the space isn‘t designed in a user friendly way, all the other aspects of shopping mall are negatively affected. Otherwise we may rely more prominently on the traditional and rather typical DDA district centres for the needful of buying the necessary items. The psychological effect of the shopping mall greatly influences the use of the space as public or private. When in a shopping mall, most people feel that they are in a public space. The interaction among a group of peer and store seems public in nature. The construction of malls with a centred common area, courtyard or plaza influences how the space is used publicly. These areas add to the overwhelming public space feel. This pseudo-public space resembles a public space with its diversity of people. But malls are privatized spaces that are ―sanitized‖ of certain elements. For example, the mall banishes outside threats of disruption and distraction: no cars allowed, no traffic, noise or fumes. The natural world cannot even intrude; there is no rain or snow, heat or cold, no seasonal changes, promising parents a safe place for their children and guarantee a crime free space. The space is seemingly protected so that people are not distracted or feel threatened. This advantage acts as a crowd puller. Moreover, the consumer can shop without the tensions of any traffic congestion or parking problems, security issues or crime districts. Mall security


Utilitarian shoppers: to whom shopping is a form of work or task which is to be accomplished, until they make a purchase. Hedonistic shoppers: who give importance to enjoyment and excitement they experience during the shopping trip. These kinds of shoppers consider shopping as leisure activity and derive pleasure from it, along with purchase of products.

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guards routinely eliminate homeless people as well as anyone wearing, what they deem to be, gang colours. As a private space, malls can control speech and looks. They can ―sanitise‖ their environment and they can prohibit activities that do not comply with their raison d’être—consumption of commodities. Mall parse the ―us‖ people, and remove out the unwanted part of ―we the people of the republic.‖ But to this excluded lot, this is precisely what happened before independence: ―Indians and Dogs not allowed‖. This causes class stratification and corroborates the view already held by people i.e. poor are unwanted part of the society or akin to ―crap‖. The prime importance is given to the working middle class because the working class controls and shapes the technologies. This is done through design features or making set of rules such as mall receded away from the road, the road itself acts as a barrier for the mall or having a dress code in restaurants and the sky reaching prices for the poor. For instance, helpers that accompany the business class are seen standing outside the retail looking after their master‘s children or have a restrained expression on their faces. Installation of video surveillance in form of the public installation of closed circuit television also contributes to exclusion of unwanted category of people from mall. The monitoring and recording of people in public and pseudo-public spaces is likely to have a chilling effect on free speech and expression of controversial views. For example, someone who would publicly castigate a government agency might fear retaliation if his/her statement were recorded. And awareness that one is being recorded is likely to affect other types of diversity as well, for instance, many people who anticipate being recorded will dress or groom themselves in a more conventional way than if they know they are not being recorded. These elements ensure protection of malls from people who may violate their space. But I have seen these ―unwanted‖ groups in the mall who are present as domestic help. These people are either a part of the cleaning staff or security guards. This provides them with an opportunity to be a part of the society and become a necessary part of the upper class life. By working in

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the mall they have a chance to rise above poverty line and educate their children to become the ―wanted‖ part of the society. This is because the development of the people is reciprocal to the development of the country. The mall, being everything, is nothing in particular. Still there is the sense in which the artificial dream world of the mall is like an artificial flower: It will never die because it was never alive.5

The following part includes consumer‘s reaction to malls and what makes it a ―public space‖: Certain question were asked to the consumers on what, according to them, makes them come to the malls and what makes it a ―positive hangout space‖. I: If given a choice between mall and a local market. What will you prefer and why? Visitor: “It depends on the weather. If it is really hot I would like to shop in a mall. It also depends on when I am looking to buy and what is my budget...” “Depends on the purpose, if I have time to spare and want to spend an entire day shopping, eating, watch a flick then mall would be the preferred choice because it would be convenient.” I: How many times do you visit malls? Visitor: “In a week I go around 3 to 4 times for shopping and all the time in malls.” “Every weekend” “Whenever I wish to bunk college I come to malls” I: What do you think makes malls the perfect place to hang out?


William Severini Kowinski. The Malling of America: An Inside Look at the Great Consumer Paradise, New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1985

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Visitor: “Because they are comfortable, you get everything under one roof, air-conditioned environment and non-tiring. And have places to sit where no beggars can disturb” “Have a comfortable environment with a good parking facility and all brands are available.” “Apart from shopping, there are cultural shows, exhibition, contests etc.” “All branded stores are available along with my favourite eating joint at one place.” From the above analysis, it can be inferred that people have started preferring malls over local markets. They feel that these malls are the best place to be if one wants to relax and shop at same time. Even if it is a holiday, people would like to spend their day in a mall even if they are not shopping. Families bring their young children to malls with the aim of giving them a taste of society. Going to malls help people realize the changing trends in lifestyle as well as the budding ideology of today‘s youth. Furthermore activities that are conducted during festivals also help in bringing people together. Consequently, ―publicness‖ is enhanced by way of the activities that are held, the ambience that is provided and the design of space that is displayed.

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Ansal Plaza, Khel Gaon, New Delhi

Finally the amalgamation of the finest brands from food to clothing to accessories all under one roof, and the building as a whole not resembling a typical DDA District Centre but a well maintained class apart habitat with thoughtfully designed services and all these as a whole lifted by a concept called malls. Ansal Plaza shopper stop has the first testimony to this concept in the capital city. A multiplex shopping mall built on near about 35 acres of land with built up area of 14,700 sq m with circular mall with open courtyard in the middle, has a 45 ft high atrium with a French glass curtain wall.

Figure 1: Schematic Plan

Figure 2: Schematic Section

Aesthetically designed, Ansal Plaza is a magnificent piece of contemporary architecture beautifully landscaped with greenery and fountains. It‘s an established shopping destination and has emerged as a major landmark. The mall offers a climate controlled environment that took drudgery out of shopping. Modern technology has made shopping spaces very light and easy to navigate. Everything is designed to pamper the shopper with best of brand. The OAT is famous for organizing music concerts, kavi sammelans, exhibition, competitions conducted on children‘s day etc. It also has bumper cars for children to play, also equipped with a LCD screen which features songs and cricket matches which attracts huge crowd.

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Shops lined up internally in the form of two arcs connected by a truss connector and are placed next to the well lit corridor

Figure 3: OAT in evening

which serve as passages to access various shops and divided by means of a glazing between the exterior and interior. The passage also has few temporary shops and benches in front of permanent giving a sense of street character. The central space is a vast Figure 4: OAT in morning

amphitheatre filled up with couples biting up a Mc Donald bun or children playing around. Hence Ansal Plaza is undoubtedly a paradise for shopping freaks as the excellent services provided with best brands available under one roof.

Figure 5: Temporary shops aligned along the corridor

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Select City Walk, Saket, New Delhi With an increasing trend of countless number of malls in Delhi and NCR, Southern Delhi always was hunted at Defence Colony, Greater Kailash or South

Figure 6: Schematic Plan (Ground Floor)

Extension by shoppers. But a boom in the trend was witnessed with the coming up of the most talked about mall today in City, Select City Walk. The mall is culmination of semi open, open and closed spaces. The place is landscaped extensively in timber,

Figure 7: First Floor Plan

water, stone and steel with an open-air amphitheatre, fully grown trees and spectacular water features. Off setted a bit away from the ever noisy and jammed road outside, by a soothing public space called the Saanskriti which itself is a hub to relax, talk, shop and have fun (during the fairs and festivals). It conducts contest during festive season or children‘s day. Walking on the textures of greens and stone and sitting next to the variable fountains gives you a peaceful ensemble which perhaps not much places in Delhi provide you with.

Figure 8: Saanskriti (open plaza)

Figure 9: Activities in Saanskriti

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Figure 10: Atrium on a weekday

Figure 11: Atrium on a festival day

Figure 12: Aged people also taking experience of the ambience

The Saanskriti (open air plaza) is a marvellous attempt at creating a rich extensive public space which has been materialised with pods of fountains, plants and stone benches, simultaneously each part paving a way as an inlet into the mall. The mall has a central atrium space which is well lit naturally and is a central node of the mall. From all big brands to the most expensive PVR of Delhi, the mall is a hub of young couples, the upper class moms flanked by their daughters, and at times old couples who go for a stroll in and out of the mall to experience the pleasure of the intricate peace, beauty and clarity of environment that is a beautiful change from the routine life. On the weekends the familiar rush is the most visible density and on weekdays the young couples and the women are posted at all corridors. One of the most interesting feature of the majestic venue is the Highstreet which serves as a blend of modern design and traditional street. At the same time, I can finely look over and take a view of the court and momentarily isolate myself for some peace and change, thereby even pushing myself back into the mall and mix into the mass of shoppers. All in all, it is a package of full entertainment serving as a micro destination in Delhi. The one more important factor of the Select City Walk are the service apartments called Svelte. A tristar hotel, with 83 luxurious personal suites available in distinctive themes to suit the needs of long stay, extended stay, guests and business travellers. Accommodation ranges from Executive, Deluxe, Royal, Grand Suites to the very exclusive

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and spacious Presidential Suite. Besides catering to requirements of individual business travellers, Svelte have facilities for formal or informal meetings and events for business delegations. The business centre is well equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment and secretarial services. With a capacity for 12 persons, it provides an ideal business environment for board meetings and small conferences. III.

Ambience Mall, Gurgaon Ambience Mall is located in Gurgaon, right ahead of the Toll Gate. It is part of a whole complex comprising of the Mall and Leela Kempinski Hotel. The

Figure 13: Ambience Mall (Site Plan)

buildings are huge and imposing,

and in one way stand as a first impression of Gurgaon, as one enters. The external facade is clad with mostly aluminium and glass panels, which hold large advertisement boards, etc. As one enters the complex, one experiences a series of well-laid out roads for cars leading to the entrance foyers and parking lots, Figure 14: Ground Floor Plan





leading to the foyer. The mall is mostly linear, yet distorted. Due to its horizontally elongated shape there are three entrances to the building. The mall typically tries to follow a courtyard typology. The central part is a large open space. The shops and showrooms are placed along the edges. The building is four storied with walkways along the front of the line of shops, which act as a balcony. This gives a feeling of

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openness and makes the space feel more ventilated. Also, it provides more visual openness and thus, one can see most of the opposite side from wherever he is standing. One problem that the user commonly faces is the long distance that one needs to walk in order to get from one shop to another. This occurs due to lack of adequate connectivity between the two opposite sides of the mall. The interiors are very well done making the mall look well lit throughout the day, with or without artificial light. This makes the stores on the side stand out and looks more attractive to the user, hence promoting them adequately. The vision of the user is then directed towards the labels and shops and not diverted elsewhere. The Ground Floor mostly houses stores and showrooms for women such as Debenhams, Mac, etc. There are also other Sports‘ showrooms such as Puma, Reebok, etc. The First Floor carries more of the men oriented stores such as Van Heusen, Firang, etc. The Second Floor has almost all eateries such as KFC, McDonald‘s, Costa Coffee, etc. The Third Floor has 4 halls of PVR and a fully-equipped Gymnasium in it. Thus, there is evidently a loosely marked separation of uses and functions for the convenience of the user. There are stores of almost every kind including digital gadgets, clothes, maternity, health care, etc. making it a very holistic mall for every user of every need. The distinction is also seen as intentional for the movie goers who can watch a movie on the fourth floor and then use the third floor for meals, while descending the stairs. This, in the process, promotes the third floor automatically. Thus, one can see that the architect has not only kept the functional requirements in mind, but also the longevity and running of the mall which would keep it alive in its actual functioning, beyond the design process. However, one very strong point to be marked is that the showrooms and stores here are of a certain level, therefore making it feasible for people above a certain class to actually come

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and use the mall. This point is also further enhanced by the fact that the mall itself is situated in such a prime location, exactly on the border of Delhi and Gurgaon, hence catering to both the cities. The Airport and Radisson Hotel are also located not very far from here which could also further add to the reason of the distinction of class displayed here; making the requirements and aims of Ambience Mall a little higher than a regular mall located just anywhere. Ambience Mall caters to a very wide range of people from all age groups and both sexes, for various needs and purposes. There is a larger crowd in the evenings and weekends for movies and shopping. Access to the mall is restricted mostly to those who come by car and some nearby residents who can access it by rickshaw. Also, Ambience is the only mall in its close vicinity. Thus, most residents are bound to come here due to lack of other places to visit in the nearby areas. This drives the crowd more towards it. It also gives rise to bad traffic outside the premises, next to the Toll Gate. On the whole, one sees that Ambience is a very popular and successful mall, not just due to its location, but also its planning and structure, functions and aesthetics.

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Chapter III Malls and Television




very that









totally as


fake true

reflection of who we are and what we want. We disdain it and yet we can’t stop watching or shopping. Paco Underhill (Call of the Mall)6

The explosion of information technology in the last couple of decades has changed the concept of transfer of knowledge from one generation to another. What used to be parental or grand parental transfer of knowledge has been replaced by electronic transfer -beit internet or television. With television intruding in our living rooms round the clock, it has information to transfer on almost every subject. Even entertainment programmes like films, documentaries delve upon all facets of life. Films are a part of literary aspect and it is said literature is a mirror of society. What happens in the society is portrayed in films; albeit in more romantic or bizarre manner. Still it is an experience for upcoming generations. They can learn positives of truth, sacrifice etc and negatives of selfishness etc. Television functions as a social context, providing sensory communion and social congregation; it also helps the society define ―us‖ and ―them‖ conferring value on persons and objects and possibly supporting hegemonic social control. Television as a social context supports the concept of a place without a location. According to McLuhan,7 media and technology is an extension of man. All of these, technologies which include television,


Paco Underhill. Call of the Mall ―examines how we use the mall, what it means, why it works when it does, and why it sometimes doesn‘t...‖ Simon & Schuster, 2004 7 Hebert Marshall McLuhan, Canadian educator, philosopher and scholar-professor of English Literature and a communist theorist. His work: book Understanding Media: The Extension of Man 1964.

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newspaper, cars, radio etc affect how we perceive and understand the world around us. Television shapes the way we experience a place as public or private, in different ways it is very frequently characterized by journalists and academicians: as the privatization of public space. The images that we see in the television give us an experience of life without going through it. For example I have never seen people die but do have an idea as to what it feels when people die. Shopping is the second most important leisure activity; watching television is indisputably the first. Much of its programming actually promotes shopping, both through advertising and the depiction of model consumer life styles. As television is considered to be a necessary evil, it provides us an insight into socialization with the world brought into a living room. Similarly malls a perfect place to shop, is also a place to socialize with unknown cultures. Although, we commonly call places like shopping malls or restaurants ―public‖ places, they may be privately owned. They may restrict access to a certain class or individual, or they may limit the kinds of speech and actions that take place within them. It would thus be far more accurate to say that such sites are neither public nor private but they embody, in one way or another, a particular sense of the relationship between public and private. The mall is deluged with fantastic images to tantalize and entice the shoppers to buy, especially in creating a dream world of the mass culture, and so it was probably fitting to call it ―the church of consumption‖. This aspect of shopping is centred on its fetish purpose, moving the population away from the reality. It is said to have parallels to the way we experience television; both try to entertain us by stimulating and lulling us at the same time. In other words, it creates an illusion which hides the failure of the society in terms of politics and economy through the image of material

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abundance exhibited in malls. While watching television one gets cut off from his or her surrounding and does not have any idea as to what is going around him, though cannot get bored from television throughout the day. In the same way we do not get bored of going to the mall every day. A typical characteristic of ―malling‘ is the feelings of timeless (Shopping Mall as a Way of Life) where people are able to kick back and relax and do not have to worry. Like the experience of television, there is a lack of sense of time in malling. The jumble of stores and services of the mall resembles our channel-changing interaction with television programs as we randomly surf from movie to a documentary to serials, all within a minute (Shopping Mall as a Way of Life). The mall is said to be a transmitter of culture, a shopper‘s paradise to escape the chaos of daily life in a postmodern world. No matter how much we curse the television, name it ―idiot-box‖, we still cannot stop watching it. Same is the case with mall. This is the reason why more and more malls come up because people cannot stop going to these malls. The place acts as a distraction. People link malls to television. We go to malls because the television shows new brands that are there and new which are being launched, the latest trend in fashion, cuisines etc. Malls are even linked to abstract art in that it allows free-play for the viewer, like television mentioned above. Shopping malls are best place to be anonymous and at the same time possess the possibility to make contact with other shoppers. They offer customers, the possibility to be anything or anybody they want to be, it gives them opportunity to be free and independent even if it is just for a passing moment.

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Chapter IV ―Fake or Authentic‖

From the ancient Greek's Agora to the Middle Ages' Commons to early 20th century American urban streets and parks, public spaces have been centres for free speech and public discourse. These spaces have been centres of diversity. Even when housing was segregated along class or ethnic lines, public spaces were where people from different backgrounds were exposed to each other. City streets, parks, and public transportation were melting pots of cultural differences, places where one would encounter people who dressed and spoke differently, hear people expressing opinions that one would never hear amongst their "peers", see people engaged in activities one had never seen before. The diversity that people were exposed to in public spaces was instrumental to moving beyond the insular world of private or even community life.

In earlier times, there used to be self reliant settlements that had all the basic facilities – physical and social. Physical needs/facilities included food and water for self and their animals that helped them in their various activities. Socially, they were non nuclear families and settlements that had deep interaction with each other. They knew each other‘s joys and sorrows and empathised accordingly. Adversity on one family was to be shared by all. There was always a recognized patriarch, whether a king or a subedar. Gradually, people became centred in their own lives that involved responsibility of a family. By mid 19th century the scene changed. People began to concentrate more on their own progress and how to get ahead of others. As a result, socializing now termed as ―public relations or PR‖ became more of a priority for the people, so places like malls have proved to be a perfect place for socialization. Due to this, it is filled with the people and most frequent visitors to these places are young couples. Even families prefer to bring their young ones here because of security

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and no traffic hassles. Whether it is watching a movie, grabbing a bite, shopping etc, everybody opts for malls. We will also find males eying out for hot girls here. Few years from now, people will be just like machines that move from house to office in their private vehicles and visit malls for leisure. And nothing in between will matter to them. Malls are fake...These are private spaces with appearance of public space. They take away the diversity and equality from the public space. This new type of physical space

creates a discursive ‗rupture‘ with older accounts of public space - based upon equality and open access. It is a collage of exotic places put together under control. However, the control over spatial structure and representation is coupled with strong controls over behaviour, enforced by surveillance cameras and security staff. It is a highly purified place where anything different to the norm of the happy consumer is subtly excluded. The malls are killing them. It constructs an ideal community with no poverty. But let us understand them from the middle-class bourgeoisie‘s perspective, with its private world. For them, malls constitute a safe and predictable realm within a world rendered dangerous by both crimes and cars. It is a clean and highly designed place. It defines a signifier of class such as terrazzo paving, brass and glass and there is no sign of poverty. The mall creates a purified environment, not only physically and climatically, but also socially. It offers an illusion of a vital public life and harmonious community. More the city‘s public spaces decline in quality and safety, the greater the relative advantage of the private mall. Visiting shopping malls is new experience that gives them fulfilment and pleasure by just strolling inside. Once the shopper enters a mall, he/she feels like taking an adventurous trip to some new and exciting place. It gives a sense of independence and freedom. By just taking a walk inside the mall, shoppers can be anything or anybody they want to be, free from stress and problems of everyday life. Feeling of timelessness also creates fulfilment for

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shopper. Having to feel the rush in everyday life, people need to slowdown and this can be experienced by malls. Malls kill our public spaces. But they also reflect right now who we are—private people with private concerns with little public sensibilities. We care about what to wear to mall, what scent to wear, what we are going to buy etc but don‘t go to ―green conventions.‖ We don‘t spend extra money to buy environment friendly detergent but rather spend hundred bucks on our make up to wear for mall; we don‘t check the impact of our hair shampoo on the flora and fauna, or our landfills but worry about our image in the mall so we dress up to our best and try to stand out of the crowd. Notwithstanding various negative and positive aspects of mall culture, where former outweighs the later marginally, it is here to stay and flourish. As architects, we do not have tools for reversing the Mall-culture. Willy nilly we have to surf with the wind. This mall culture has emerged as a necessary evil that will remain unavoidable even for those who continue to criticise it. As the famous line by the Cyborgs in Star Trek goes: Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

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Besser, Howard. Intellectual Property: The Attack on Public Space in cyberspace. (n.d.). Duncan, Barry. Popular culture: the shopping Mall. Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988. Kowinski, William Severini. The Malling of America: An Inside Look at Great Consumer Paradise. New York: W.Morrow, 1985. McLuhan, Herbert Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extension of Man. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975.

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media:_The_Extensions_of_Man" Underhill, Paco. Call of the Mall. Ney york: Simon & schuster, 2004.


ARTICLES/ESSAYS ―Mallin‘ Rouge: A Literature Review‖, discusses the different driving forces that make a person go to the mall and relate these forces to the overall characteristics of the mall. Besser, Howard, Associate Professor, UCLA School of Education and Information, ―Intellectual Property: The Attack on Public Space in cyberspace”
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