• MSL Mall – A shopping village for everyone, neighbourhood mall in transformation by Alexander Wong Architects

    15 November 2023

    Inspired by the traditional villages of Asia, the renovation of the latest MSL Mall in one of the earliest developed areas of Hong Kong, namely Shek Tong Tsui in the Western District of Old Hong Kong, is a huge challenge for the design team of Alexander Wong Architects.

    Just by looking at the “Before and After” Images, the contrasts could not be greater.

    Many old and smaller shopping malls, the first generation of its kind in the urban fabric of a bygone era in Hong Kong, is going through a series of huge transformation, some swankier than others, but the important question to ask is : “Who is the mall built for ?”

    “Surely not just for the younger generation or the bigger sectors of the consumer pie chart as these malls exist in the midst of communities filled with all age groups from socially diverse backgrounds, including locals and foreigners, young and old, sick and healthy, abled and disabled, families and singles, privileged and financially challenged, and so much more from many different lifestyles. It is therefore really important to create a facility that caters for more than just a few individuals, even though some may never buy anything from the shops in this mall. The fact is these non-consumers will traverse through the shopping arcade and therefore this will become a part of their communal experiences nevertheless. Everyone should feel a sense of belonging and share the community spirit as much as possible. And they should also feel comfortable in it as well. Not some invasion of local or international brands which they may or may not wish to be a part of. The challenge here is how to respect existing residents and the culture of its neighbourhood whilst injecting a new energy into the mall. The coexistence of these shops with several entrances to residential units above are also critical to its success,” explains Alexander Wong of Alexander Wong Architects.

    “Many built in the roaring 50s, 60s and 70s in Hong Kong, these typical ‘Neighbourhood Arcade Malls’ were a first of their kind but certainly a relic of the past now. Many have become old and dilapidated with poor or next-to-zero maintenance and upkeep. Some have become dark with severe glare problems during the day and lack of proper lighting after nightfall. Even the communal conveniences were designed right next to an open yard without weather protection which seem slightly archaic to us now,” Wong further adds.

    The transformation is nothing less than significant. The newly opened MSL Mall is cleaner and brighter. The design of the arcade is modular and contemporary with a touch of Asian aesthetics which harks back to any experience of traversing through a communal village but with a modern twist. It is simple and stylish, friendly and warm with easy to maintain woodgrain aluminium slats on most surfaces. Labelled with big circular lightbox signages, all the shops are easy to find creating a perfect backdrop for introducing brands or businesses new and old alike.

    MSL Mall — A Neighbourhood Mall Rejuvenated with a New Facelift is now opened to everyone.

    For further information, please visit alexanderwong.com.hk.


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