This new mall in Laguna has art in every corner

Angelo G. Garcia

Posted at Jul 27 2019 07:20 AM

SAN PEDRO, Laguna -- This new mall in San Pedro, Laguna may look like just any other modern mall, but inside it lies colorful, artsy, and playful design features that makes it quite unique. From Japanese kokeshi dolls to big metal sculptures, art breathes life into this contemporary shopping center.

Even the comfort rooms have graphic murals selfie-obsessed people would love. The artsy details are all part of Robinsons Malls' plan to make sure that this mall has its own character and not another boring box-type mall.

Playful seating areas at Digiworld. Handout

Robinsons Galleria South, located along the Old National Highway in San Pedro, is extra special because it carries the Galleria name.

This is the mall chain's third Galleria, which is considered its premium mall brand. The first is Robinsons Galleria Ortigas and second is Robinsons Galleria Cebu.

“It's the gateway to Laguna and it's practically Metro Manila, the way we see it,” explained Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) senior vice president and general manager for Commercial Centers Division Arlene Magtibay regarding the company's decision to build a Galleria in San Pedro.
 
The Galleria brand has a more premium feel compared to the Robinsons Place malls. The architectural design is more modern and dynamic, and it's also bigger than most of the malls. Galleria South occupies a 3.8-hectare lot and has a total of 115,000 square-meter retail space, including the parking building.

Traditional Japanese art as ceiling accents. Handout

“We at Robinsons Land would like to mention that this is a very special mall for us. This is our third Robinsons Galleria mall and the reason for this is we really see this as a huge gateway to Southern Luzon. San Pedro is situated between Metro Manila and the rest of Calabarzon and all the way south. We think that this is a very important location on the map and we spared no expense to make this mall very beautiful and very functional,” said RLC president and chief executive officer Frederick Go.

PARTNERING WITH ARTISTS

RLC tapped ASYA Design to design the project. Galleria South has more architectural features than other Robinsons malls, like having open garden spaces, a dedicated chapel, and using natural materials like wood in the overall design.

Since it's a Galleria mall, everything needs to be top-notch.

“Every corner is photogenic, that's basically the design concept that we worked around. Robinsons is very open to new ideas and they're also game in working with different artists for different corners,” said ASYA Design marketing manager Sophia Puyat.

Sampaguita-inspired design accents. Handout

The most prominent design feature was inspired by San Pedro's most famous product — the sampaguita. The mall created colorful murals around the mall and a ceiling accent above the main atrium, inspired by the national flower of the Philippines.

The mall likewise partnered with several artists including Filipino-American Jefre Manuel, renowned for his sculptural public art installations. He created a stylized metal sculpture of the Book of St. Peter in honor of the city's namesake.

Various names are sculpted to the inverted open book shape, five-meter stainless steel artwork. It is placed at the mall's central garden, in front of the main entrance.

The Central Garden features artificial turf and Jefre Manuel's sculpture. Handout

The mall also partnered with graphic artist and craft master Robert Alejandro to design each thematic zones of the mall. He included graphic murals and quirky art pieces like dog plant boxes, cartoony seating areas, human-sized Japanese kokeshi dolls, just to name a few.

“I'm really grateful to Robinsons because they are open to new, young design. I always want new, young design. Robinsons is a very exciting team to work with,” he said.

Alejandro was also behind the re-design of Galleria Ortigas' food court, now called Eat Street. The food hall brand was brought to Galleria South and Alejandro also brought his playful graphic design art to the new branch called Eat Street Market Hall.

Human-sized Japanese kokehi dolls adorn the mall's Japan-Korea Town. Handout

Moreover, one of the thematic zones is the JK (Japan-Korea) Town, a space dedicated to East Asian shops. This is where popular Japanese shop Daiso Japan is located, as well as the extremely popular Korean BBQ restaurant Samgyupsalamat.

CHANGING SAN PEDRO'S SHOPPING HABIT

Galleria South is RLC's 52nd mall and San Pedro's first full service mall. It is also the company's third and biggest mall in Laguna.

The new mall brings Robinsons Malls' retail expertise to one of Laguna's first-class cities. The citizens of San Pedro have to travel to neighboring cities of Muntinlupa and Sta. Rosa just to go shopping or watch movies. Not anymore.

The mall chain brings in its affiliate brands like Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Handyman, Robinsons Appliances, and Daiso Japan.

Eat Street Market Hall's artsy vibe. Handout

The department store branch here has one of the biggest athletics and active wear sections that carries 16 brands. The mall also has the 136th store of the supermarket and Robinsons Appliances' most modern shop to date.

The Daiso Japan branch here sports the new logo and look (arrowhead theme), while Handyman's shop is its 168th store just in time for their 25th year anniversary.

Robinsons Movieworld, on the other hand, boasts of six state-of-the-art cinemas including a VIP cinema that has a beautifully designed lounge. The high-end cinema also features plush La-Z-Boy-like reclining seats.

Robinsons Movieworld's artsy corner. Photo by author

Aside from the affiliate shops, the mall brings in local and international brands like National Book Store, Bench, H&M, World Balance, Levi's, Penshoppe, among others.

The mall also has Robinsons Malls' Lingkod Pinoy Center housing satellite government offices like Philhealth and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

Even comfort rooms have colorful murals. Handout