Pedestrians enter directly from the duplex shop fronts, or are guided from Orchard Road up to the Mandarin Gallery's second level via escalators. Behind the curtain-wall facade there is nearly 18,000m² of retail floorspace, accommodating a total of 103 shops, to greet them.
"Faced with the constraints of retaining levels two and three of the existing structure, a hierarchy of design styles was adhered to over the four levels of the centre," says Appasamy. "This was to make good use of intimate low ceiling heights that in some areas are augmented by introduced open suspended ceilings."
A sleek, refined decor in Mandarin Gallery's ground and first floors reflects the luxury brands on display here. The second floor has a lighter and edgier feel, with wooden trellises overhead and chic pebble floors, and is home to electronics, lifestyle and fashion stores. Interior finishes on the top floor are warmer reminiscent of a domestic residence with wood floors, timber surface veneers and paintings hanging on the walls. This level features home-related retail stores and food and beverage establishments.
Together with the expansive, signature facade, the international brand names are a central part of Mandarin Gallery's attraction. The restrained Montblanc store provides a glittering example.
A subtle colour palette, reflecting Montblanc's brand, and recessed ceilings that accentuate the height of the boutique provide a backdrop for individual product settings, dedicated to writing instruments, watches, jewellery and leather wear.
The eye is soon drawn to a feature of the space a 4m chandelier made from over 600,000 Swarovski crystals carved into individually curved glass panels, each spelling out the word Montblanc. This is suspended through the stairwell that leads to the upper level of the duplex and on to the VIP room. The dramatic art piece was made in Germany and is one of only two in the world specially created for the brand the other dazzles Parisians in the French capital's Montblanc boutique.
Spokesperson for Montblanc, Alena Kok, says the Mandarin Gallery shop fit-out, with its sense of heightened space, is intended to create an inviting retail environment that offers a cultural experience as well as presenting exquisite product ranges.
"For example, enclaves within the boutique are given over to exhibiting artists from the Montblanc Young Artist World Patronage awardees."