New mall concept: Bikinihaus, Berlin

In my last blog post, I talked about the reinvention of the shopping mall and shared insights from Ponce City Market in Atlanta, a mall that I think has pretty much nailed it.

In this post, I look at Bikinihaus Berlin.

I recently visited Berlin and after seeing an exhibition at C/O Berlin decided to look up some design stores which led me to Bikini, an odd name for a mall I thought!…

The mall occupies the historic buildings that run alongside Berlin Zoo and is part of the Bikini complex that also includes a cinema, hotel and aquarium. In the 1950s the building became known by locals as the ‘Bikini’ haus because it’s two floors and open-sided structure reminded people of a bare midriff; the bikini being a new swimwear fashion statement at that time.

The mall is a mix of big brand retailers but also has modular wooden box structures on the ground floor that act as pop-up stores and temporary retail space for small independent designer-makers. Customers have a reason to visit frequently since this space is always changing.

A gallery space runs all the way around the second floor, accessible through wide central sweeping stairways. The steel structure of the building is exposed throughout and double height expansive windows give direct views into the animal enclosures at the zoo.

The second floor leads to an outdoor terrace, taking inspiration from New York’s Highline. Running right along the edge of the zoo, from here you can see down into the animal enclosures below.

For me, the openness of the space, connection to outdoors, natural light and changeable nature of the pop-up units make this space a great place to spend time, and shop.

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