The way ahead is to stay ahead with outstanding interior landscapes

According to a recent Shopping Centre Council of Australia Briefing Note, shopping centres must constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant and contemporary.

David Segal, in a December 2016 Linkedin post “Disrupt or Die: The shopping mall of the future” suggests “the modern mall needs to become a place for inspiration and discovery.”

Quoting the CallisonRTKL Shopping Centre Forecast. “The New Retail Market and the Future of Shopping”

“Already we’re seeing successful retail formats around Europe evolve in response to changing habits. Today, the most prosperous centres tend to be either large, dominant properties that provide full-scale shopping destinations, or smaller, food-anchored centres that offer lifestyle and leisure with a dose of shopping. In Western Europe, destination centres are being created through refurbishment and extension, which allows developers to maximise the assets they already have.”


Shopping centre owners and operators are well aware of the benefits of creating pleasant, enjoyable atmospheres that encourage shoppers to spend time in their retail environments. An inspired interior can encourage shoppers to extend their stay. Both the young and older shopper increasingly are aware of the necessity of ‘greenery’ in their daily environment (fulfilling an innate need for connection with nature).

The transformation of the mall to meet the changing needs and shopping patterns of consumers has many ingredients, and is constantly evolving to stay ahead.

Creating the ‘wow’ response with a cost effective approach

One cost-effective solution to mall revitalization and refurbishment is the incorporation of living trees and plants, in a variety of combinations, to provide vitality and excitement, to transport customers from the everyday world outside into totally different environments that make them feel good, and ensure their return. . Well-designed interior landscape can accommodate changing merchandise displays, direct traffic flow through the mall, create attractive spaces for food courts, and help attract return visits from shoppers.

The approach should be to interest the public with the design. The interior landscape can provide an element of surprise that “wows” shoppers.

Sense of Place

Our sense of place is closely linked with the availability and relative abundance of ‘greenery’

Creative interior landscapes can transport customers from the everyday world outside, into totally different environments that make them feel good and ensure their return. Transforming an unattractive area of a mall into a visual focal point achieves two aims; it creates visual interest without necessarily using lettable space.

Whether the interior landscape design is for a new shopping centre, or for the refurbishment or redevelopment of an existing centre, the solutions will be unique. What is possible in one location may not be possible or desirable in another.

Lack of Confidence

There can be a lack of confidence to specify permanent trees and interior landscapes within the shopping centre design, with designers opting for casual plant hire to avoid fear of failure. Our structured framework, PLIMA® (Plants, Light, Irrigation, Media, Air) results in outstanding interior landscape installations that deliver the ‘wow’ factor.

Case Study


Innovative Plant Technology provided specialist advice and technical support to AECOM, in the design process for a successful palm installation at North Lakes Link Mall, Brisbane, a Scentre Group/Dexus project.

Subsequently Scentre Group Design requested Inovative Plant Technology provide a scope of service for installation/inspection and inspection/reporting, and advice on installation for three internal palms, to be installed in the Westfield North Lakes Link Mall, a redevelopment to incorporate an IKEA store.

Outcome required

Scentre Group Design Services required the selection of three suitable 4.5m Cabbage Tree palms to be installed in the North Lakes Link Mall Shopping Centre extension ready for the mid-November 2016 opening.

Action by Innovative Plant Technology

  • Applying the PLIMA® systematic approach, we undertook;
  • On-site nursery inspection to select, tag and report on health and acceptability of palms.
  • Inspected planting locations, prior to palm installation, for drainage and irrigation provisions and reviewed soil test results.
  • Measured and evaluated available daylight including Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) measurements to determine Total Daily Light integral (DLI) at Solar Noon and two hours before and two hours after.
  • Cooperated with the glazing contractor re glass selection to meet the design requirements, while allowing maximum spectral quality for palm health.
  • Cooperated with the lighting engineer on supplementary lighting requirements re location of lamps, light direction and timing.
  • On-site for palm installation to confirm acceptability/health of palms and correct installation process, including guying.
  • Post installation inspection at twelve weeks to confirm positive progress.
  • Post installation inspection at 6 months, and report.
  • Available by phone or email to provide ongoing advice and consultation as required, for twelve months post installation regarding palm performance.

This is a work in progress; over time, with appropriate monitoring and good maintenance from the landscape team, this palm installation will fulfil the design intent. Three 4.5m Cabbage Tree palms growing in an enclosed mall. They already look good.

Share This