Shopping Malls recognise the power of play


As the international retail industry continues to decline, shopping malls are looking at ways to support outlets by offering integrated experiences to increase footfall and dwell time. Timberplay and their partner company Richter Spielgeräte have seen an increase in enquiries from Shopping Centre Managers and groups looking to add high quality play to enhance their visitor experience. Although historically play has been a part of the retail centre mix, it has often been included at a relatively basic level. By working with Timberplay, Developers and Retail Managers are now indicating they are recognising the value of play and are willing to invest more in order to have provision that stands out, delivering high quality and innovative play solutions.

Timberplay have recently seen significant growth coming from the Middle East market, and one of the projects they delivered there throughout 2018 was the development of a play area for new retail development, Mall of Arabia in Cairo. This £300,000 investment was designed to offer exceptional play experiences, highlighting the new shopping centre as a top end retail destination. Working in close collaboration with Mall of Arabia and Richter Spielgeräte, Timberplay were able to adapt their equipment in order to take into account the specific demands of the climate and the prevailing play culture.

The developers were looking to create a stand out play area and used a combination of huge interconnecting pyramid towers and a climbing structure, all selected to offer challenging play for older children. Alongside this they also installed small play huts and a dwarf hill, alongside smaller elements all ideal for younger children. Timberplay equipment also seeks to provide graduated risk, so can present new challenges for children as they grow and revisit the play space and shopping centre over the years.

Fellow partner of Richter Spielgeräte, Caracol, have also recently fulfilled an interesting order within the spacious entrance area of the IKEA store in Bayonne. Entitled, ‘In The Trees’, the bespoke structure comprises eleven coloured boxes, mounted on different levels and equipped with different exit points, net roofs and platform floors. Using a system of climbing tunnels, nets, ladders and slides, visitors to the store can explore the bespoke structure, which has been produced in a fresh and funky colour palette to complement the feel of the store.

Using their network of partners around the world, Richter Spielgeräte can support shopping centre managers and developers in creating play facilities that support the retail experience.


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