Saturday, 29 November 2014


Black Friday Special: The 12 Most Spectacular Malls in the World
By Matt Shaw,
Architizer, 28 November 2014.

The arrival of Black Friday presents the opportunity to experience shopping centres in their full glory. As a celebration of the form, we've gathered a showcase of some of the world's most notable malls.

1. Il Vulcano Buono - Nola, Italy

Image via

Nola, Italy, near Mount Vesuvius, boasts the Volcano Buono, which was designed by Renzo Piano to be part of the landscape (kind of). It opened in 2007 with over 150 shops, a movie theatre, and a hotel. The volcano-like shape is not only contextual, but also a spectacular space to shop in.

2. Mall of America - Bloomington, Minnesota, USA


The Mall of America was one of the original megamalls, with over 4.3 miles of storefront. It includes the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park as well as an aquarium, mini-golf course, and a flight simulator. The mall attracts 40 million visitors each year. [Mall of America website]

3. Khan Shatyr - Astana, Kazakhstan


Kazakhstan is known for its outrageous architecture, and this Foster + Partners' contribution doesn't disappoint. It is the largest tensile structure in the world, and its tent is designed in three layers to provide a comfortable atmosphere for stores, restaurants, an indoor green space, and a water park. [Khan Shatyr website]

4. GUM - Moscow, Russia

Image via

This huge mall is ironically located in Moscow's Red Square. Even before the structure was built, the area had been a shopping bazaar since the 16th century. The structure, completed in 1893, was one of the earliest modern steel, iron, and glass structures. After the Communist era, it was privatized in the early '90s. [GUM website]

5. Dubai Mall - Dubai, UAE


Dubai has an abundance of indoor malls because of the extreme climate and the city's penchant for extravagance. The Dubai Mall complex has over 1,000 shops and a range of luxe amenities. These include access to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa and the world's largest suspended aquarium; the latter's 33,000 aquatic animals includes the world's largest collection of sand tiger sharks. [Dubai Mall website]

6. Mall of the Emirates - Dubai, UAE


Built in 2005, the Mall of the Emirates famously boasts Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East, which includes the world's first indoor black diamond run. [Mall of the Emirates website]

7. Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II - Milan, Italy

Image via

Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II is in the heart of Milan, and features the finest shops. It was constructed between 1865 and 1877, and is one of the earliest examples of modern architecture. Its iron and glass structure encloses a street lined with gorgeous classical architecture.

8. Canal City - Fukuoka, Japan

Image via HugeinJapan

An 180-foot canal is the centrepiece of the Canal City, a mixed-use development that mixes traditional Japanese architecture with 20th century urbanism. The central "city theatre" gathers visitors along the canal and provides a lively setting to observe the diverse cityscape. It includes numerous shops, amusements, a movie theatre, two hotels, showrooms, and office space. [Canal City website]

9. Grand Canal Shoppes - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA


The Grand Canal Shoppes are located at The Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The complex is famous for its series of indoor canals and gondolas that take shoppers around the mall. [Grand Canal Shoppes website]

10. Złote Tarasy - Warsaw, Poland


The Złote Tarasy is a commercial, office, and entertainment complex located next to Warsaw's Central Railway Station. Its architecture is fantastic, with a bubble-like curving glass roof and interior volumes that make the indoor space come alive. [Złote Tarasy website]

11. Villaggio Mall - Doha, Qatar

Image via

The ceilings and lighting at this huge mall simulate the sky, including day, night, and sunset. Street lamps add to the fun, as does a gondola that connects the shopping areas with entertainment such as a 13-screen IMAX 3D cinema and an ice-skating rink. [Villaggio Mall website]

12. Mall of the World - Dubai, UAE

Image via The Guardian

The Mall of the World in Dubai is the logical conclusion of every other mall on this list, as well as any other shopping area in the history of shopping areas. It hasn't even been built yet, but it still makes it on to our list due to its sheer preposterousness. It includes replicas of streets in New York and London. [Dubai Holding Press Release]

Top image: The Khan Shatyr, via Most Beautiful Places.

[Source: Architizer. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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