IT USED to be one of the few malls in Singapore with a strong sense of identity.
Funan IT Mall’s reputation as a hub for computers and technology stretched beyond the shores of Singapore. Visitors from the region, and further afield like India and Australia could be seen hunting down the latest gadgets or looking for things on the cheap in a space that seemed to offer virtually everything.
When it shut, there must have been a collective gasp of horror.
When you have that much history working against you, then it’s all about raising the game.
In presenting the new concept for Funan, its owner CapitaLand Mall Trust, showcased a plan which should inject more creativity into the 324,000 sqft retail scene, such as having a bicycle path running through the ground floor spaces.
With Singapore’s reputation for delivering cookie cutter concepts and trotting out the familiar brands, Funan wants to set a different tone. And it starts with the showsuite, across the road from where the integrated mall will open its doors in 4Q 2019.
This is the first time a mall show suite is open to the public. The quirky structure will serve as a constant reminder of what’s to come. It features lifestyle events and is intended to build a Funan community prior to its opening.
A Mixed Bag Of Offerings
A Lego display and a virtual reality simulation tour take you through the levels.
When it is opened, it will serve as home for local troupe Wild Rice. This would certainly help set Funan apart from other malls. The 380-seat theatre will occupy 18,000 square feet of Funan and give the theatre company — which has thus far lived a life of peregrination under Ivan Heng — a home. Question in, will the comfort of home impact the edginess of the art presented?
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Golden Village will unveil the first multidimensional, multi-sensorial experience. In amongst all those “multis” will be a new range of cinema seats and more personal space. Will it come with a device to send noisy customers who insist on putting their feet up and eating noisily to a “sin bin”?
Climb Central will feature a 50-lane climbing facility. This didn’t help Orchard Central much. Hope it scales to greater heights here.
New Acts And Familiar Favourites
Local artisans will likely make a difference in this climate of makers and the like. Whether their products will sit comfortably will depend on the mix of products and their price points.
What would any mall be without food? Besides a food van and cafes, there will be a KOPItech food court that will have a self-ordering kiosk, vacuum cleaner, and a return tray for reward. Hope the food isn’t going to be the usual staid fare you find the industrial kitchens spewing out at most of the Kopitiam Malls.
For the pining fans of the IT Mall, too afraid to visit Sim Lim lest they be parted from their worldly wealth by unscrupulous thugs, a glimmer of hope comes in the form of two floors of the mall being devoted to things techie. Newstead Technologies and TK Foto will return, and a new Lenovo flagship store will open.
With such a wide range of product offerings, Funan may still find itself becoming like many of the malls here. Sure, it will have a mix of interesting elements, but it would be lacking the cohesive identity as an IT mall that drew a purposeful crowd in the past.