New Funan to go 'Beyond IT'

As part of the #BeyondIT campaign leading up to the Funan's closure on July 1, Singapore graffiti artist Ceno2 (foreground, with hat) leads a group of graffiti art workshop participants to brainstorm ideas for the future mall.
As part of the #BeyondIT campaign leading up to the Funan's closure on July 1, Singapore graffiti artist Ceno2 (foreground, with hat) leads a group of graffiti art workshop participants to brainstorm ideas for the future mall.PHOTO: SERENE LAM
As part of the #BeyondIT campaign leading up to the Funan's closure on July 1, Singapore graffiti artist Ceno2 leads a group of graffiti art workshop participants to brainstorm ideas for the future mall.
As part of the #BeyondIT campaign leading up to the Funan's closure on July 1, Singapore graffiti artist Ceno2 leads a group of graffiti art workshop participants to brainstorm ideas for the future mall.PHOTO: SERENE LAM
Shoppers bidding for a Sony Playstation 4 at Funan Digitalife Mall on Saturday (April 16) in the mall's Believe IT or Not sale activities. The sale lasts till Sunday.
Shoppers bidding for a Sony Playstation 4 at Funan Digitalife Mall on Saturday (April 16) in the mall's Believe IT or Not sale activities. The sale lasts till Sunday.PHOTO: KATHERINE CHEW

SINGAPORE - Mr Leong Hanyang of Funbie Studios, located on level five of Funan DigitaLife Mall, refers to his shop space as a "playground".

The 3D printing and design outfit caters to industrial designers, artists, students and even cosplay enthusiasts who want to create prototypes or models using 3D printers.

"It's kind of a playground for the different kinds of people who come by," he said.

They set up shop at Funan about a year ago not just because it was in a central location, but also for its potential for "interesting collaborations", Mr Leong said.

 
 

He cited its proximity to art schools as an example; The School of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Laselle College of the Arts are all a stone's throw away.

While Funbie Studios will move to Liang Court when Funan closes for re-development on July 1, could businesses such as these thrive in the revamped mall?

The 31-year-old mall, to be closed for three years, will re-open with nearly double its current floor area.

About 388,000 sq ft will be added to the North Bridge Road mall's current gross floor area of 482,000 sq ft.

The expanded floor space of 870,000 sq ft means the new development will be about the size of Ion Orchard, CapitaLand said.

The new building, slated to be ready in 2019, will be an "experiential creative hub" where people can live, create and play, CapitaLand said.

Some examples of ideas for the new mall: Trying on clothes and sports equipment using virtual reality technology; dining on meals prepared with vegetables from the mall's farm, and a cycling path within the mall.

"It will respond to Singaporeans' growing desire to engage in more enriching and interactive experiences, beyond just consuming goods and services," said Mr Lim Ming Yan, president and group CEO of CapitaLand.

It is also engaging the public to come up with ideas for what this "mall of the future" will look like.

CapitaLand and The Straits Times are jointly launching a #BeyondIT campaign from Saturday (April 16) to seek such ideas from the public in the form of images, videos or text.

Participants can win points, which can be exchanged for CapitaLand shopping vouchers worth between $50 and $1,000.

Shortlisted ideas will be featured on a wall mural that will adorn the hoarding of the new integrated development.

More details can be found at www.straitstimes.com/BeyondIT.

Before it closes on July 1, the mall will host a series of sales and promotions, the first of which started on Thursday (April 14).

Shoppers like Mr Donnie Ang, 41, was there to search for deals at the Believe IT or Not sale that lasts till Sunday.

He prefers to go a reputable retailer for his gadgets and electronics, he said, adding: "I'll miss the mall."


Matthew Lim, 43, bought a security camera during the Believe IT or Not sale that lasts till Sunday. The civil servant said that he will miss Funan during the three years of closure as he is a frequent shopper there. PHOTO: SERENE LAM

From June 6 to 12, Funan holds its annual Funan Anime Matsuri, which it promises will be the "grandest" ever.

To top it off, a thank you party will be held at Funan's atrium on its last day of operation, June 30, for tenants and loyal shoppers.