Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SM Megamall's Mega Atrium

REPOSTING a piece I wrote for the Lifestyle section of the Manila Bulletin late last year.

SM Malls continue to look upmarket with the Mega Atrium

It's a mall within a mall and nothing quite like the “mothership” that houses it.

Actually, the Mega Atrium is a new “lifestyle area” that literally bridges the gap between Mega A and B of SM Megamall. It certainly feels more like the nearby Podium than the very mainstream Megamall itself, though.

Characterized by upscale retail stores like Fred Perry, 5cm, Promod, Gap, Steve Madden, Lacoste Footwear and Zoo York, specialty shops like The Soap Factory, Belo Medical Group, Toni & Guy Essensuals and Little Ones Dental Clinic and dining options like Gumbo, Holy Cow, Amici, Gotti’s and Haagen Dazs, the Mega Atrium is envisioned to be a niche mall that also offers respite and relaxation with other value-added amenities like valet parking, concierge and lounge areas, a chapel of the Eucharistic Lords, services and, of course, free Wi-Fi connection.

Covering four levels and a total floor area of 16,000 square meters, the Mega Atrium is designed by a team that includes Arquitectonica, W.V. Coscolluela and Associates, Monolith Construction and Development Corporation and DA Abcede and Associates while architect Joey Amistoso is responsible for creating the fifth level’s chapel.

The decidedly upscale vibe of the Mega Atrium is more in line with what SM previously accomplished with The Block, a similar, upscale area in SM City North. It is also in step with Megamall’s other concept areas such as the Artwalk and Art Center and the equally sought-after Megatrade Hall.

In terms of general look and feel as well as shopping and dining options, however, the Mega Atrium is also comparable to the likes of the nearby Podium and Shangri-La Plaza.

With its neutral color scheme of beige and brown and a 425-square meter circular atrium surrounded by shops and restaurants, it is easy to get acclimated and immediately feel at home here, especially when you compare it to the usually crowded and, at times, claustrophobic ambiance of the rest of Megamall.

The Mega Atrium’s second level also has an entertainment area ideal for lounge performances that can also be reserved for certain events and launches. Prior to its launch, we have in fact attended several events here and we find the place to be very comfortable and with better than average acoustics.

At 330,000 square meters SM Megamall remains one of the world’s largest malls. The elegantly-designed Mega Atrium is a welcome addition as it offers 32 specialty restaurants, 21 fashion boutiques and11 jewelry stores and specialty shops in four exciting levels of upscale shopping and dining.

The Mega Atrium is located at the Bridgeway Area along Julia Vargas. It has its own lobby entrance and private elevator at the Mega Side B of the Megastrip.

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