Those who visited Sunway Pyramid recently may have seen and enjoyed the stack of escalators that connects the upper level car park floors to the retail floors through its latest asset enhancement exercise.
Dubbed as ‘Oasis Garden’, the exercise saw the creation of a rainforest-like environment across 6 floors of escalator decks through creative use of sight, sound, smell and touch in generating a life-like experience.
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“When we were identifying the areas to bring out the soundscape, the escalators stood out in terms of importance and conduciveness. As two thirds of our mall traffic utilises those escalators which translated into 2 million visitors per month, the location represented a strategic value to make an impression to a great number of visitors. It is a captive market we had not targeted before,” said Mr Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks.
“The whole idea of Oasis Garden was to create a pleasant transition for people walking from the parking bays to the retail space and vice versa. I dare say Oasis Garden is Malaysia’s first sensory escalator deck,” he continued.
Sunway Malls asserts that they are now looking beyond promotions, advertising and public relations to attract footfall and sales conversion. With 1 in 5 Malaysians spending their time in a mall at any given weekend and intense competition in the Klang Valley, Sunway Malls needed to ensure that brand advocacy and mall affiliation is a focus not to be forgotten amidst the excitement of tactical marketing.
“We recognise that there is a need for a strategic all-inclusive approach that works in tandem with tactical marketing. Customers at present have a high expectation on service and quality of products. They are spoilt for choices and they have come to expect more holistically and gravitate towards brands who can engage with them in a creative manner. Events and promotions so bring in the traffic but we are a 21-year-old mall and I believe we can do more than that so we can impress our customers during their stay with us, converting them into returning customers,” said Chan.
The escalators, connecting CP7 to CP2 parking floors at the Orange Atrium, now features artificial greenery with sounds of birds chirping, crickets, frogs and monkeys. The sounds of flowing water and gushes of wind complemented the entire “garden”, creating an immersive sound experience for shoppers.
“The car park is a relatively harsh environment without air-conditioning. The mall can be a very crowded place and the sight of a rainforest-like garden helps to change the feel and mood of the shoppers, allowing them to experience something soothing, refreshing and therapeutic, said Chan.
“To ensure we achieve the right soundscape, we sought the assistance of Professor Matthew Sansom, the associate dean of Sunway University School of Arts and Head of Performance and Media. He has had 20 years of experience working with sound and he explores the relationship of sound with people and the environment,” said Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls.
So far, the mall has invested approximately RM250,000 on Oasis Garden. 60% of its materials are recycled from previous festive décor and events.
“The sounds of nature really helped mask the sounds of the escalator mechanism, car screeches, and just general white noise from the crowd. Authentic sound from 17 species of birds were used to create this soundscape,” Chin explained.
The mall has further enhanced Oasis Garden with scents of the forest, to create an even more wholesome experience for its shoppers.
In many ways, Oasis Garden also serves as an awareness that Sunway is committed to the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals. Rainforests play an important role in ensuring the eco-system of life on land is well preserved.
It took the mall over 6 months to get Oasis Garden to where it is today.
“We also have a Paradise Garden in Lower Ground 1, just outside the Blue Entrance. It’s a seating area with real plants since it’s in the outdoors but the next area we are looking at to implement soundscape is our newly-refurbished Main Entrance at the Ground Floor. Professor Sansom is currently studying the area,” said Chin.
“Our success with Oasis Garden shows that we can turn science into art, and we can translate a space into something people can enjoy. When a visit to the mall is delightful, we know we have done something right for our shoppers,” concludes Chan.
Asset enhancement exercises are common for Sunway Pyramid as the mega mall went through a series of exercises to keep abreast. It underwent an extensive renovation and expansion back in 2007 and added a new retail podium known as Sunway Pyramid West in 2015.
Sunway Malls is gearing to be amongst Malaysia’s largest mall owner-operator and currently manages five malls:Sunway Pyramid, Bandar Sunway; Sunway Giza Mall, Kota Damansara; Sunway Putra Mall, Kuala Lumpur; Sunway Velocity Mall, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur; Sunway Carnival Mall, Penang.