Welcome to shopping, 21st century style, at Frankfurt’s spectacular MyZeil mall. With its glass and steel edifice and sculptural spirals, it looks like a hyper-modern gallery space or a building from a science-fiction film. It is, in fact, the work of celebrated architect Massimiliano Fuksas.
Beyond the impressive façade are 77,000 square metres housing shops, restaurants, a fitness centre and leisure spaces. Fuksas’ glass frontage challenges the distinction between exterior and interior spaces, with a void that is pulled into the atrium of the mall as though being sucked by a futuristic space creature. The glass curves appear to create a vortex, a somewhat witty play on the idea of a mall as an empty, soulless and superficial space. Not so here, as architecture has become part of the shopping experience and the feeling is one of luxury.
Designing into the future
All six levels of MyZeil are flooded with natural sunlight and there’s also a public plaza located in the centre of the mall where visitors can enjoy some fresh air. MyZeil has the appearance of a flowing form, and has taken nature as its inspiration, bringing a sense of the outside to the inside. The clever architecture connects the Zeil – Frankfurt’s bustling shopping area – with the interior of MyZeil. The glistening glass also acts as an ultra-modern mirror reflecting the historical streets outside of the mall.
Fashion in force
MyZeil is home to a mouth-watering selection of brands, with everything from Swarovski to Biba and Princesse Tam Tam, along with a stellar line up of denim lines including G-Star, Tommy Hilfiger Denim and Replay. MyZeil is committed to art and cultural events which support the local community, leading to the creation of a gallery space. In addition, the mall regularly hosts various high-profile events, for example last year the MTV Europe Music Awards were held here, underlining Germany’s thriving music scene.
It is a strong example of how shopping centres are being reshaped, not just in Germany but around the world. ‘The mall isn’t a space which is apart from culture and the city any more. It’s at the heart of the modern urban consumer and cultural experience,’ says Lucy Knockton, founder of Concierge de Mode, a boutique travel concierge and fashion service that works throughout Germany and in other countries in Europe.
Under one roof
‘It's refreshing to be able to spend a whole day in a place where you can get everything you need and want, without all that unnecessary trawling around. The mix of practicality and otherworldly make-believe gives malls that dusting of fairytale sparkle. The idea of a Disney World for consumers isn’t something to be sneered at. Who doesn’t want the happy-ever-after shopping experience sometimes?’