Buchan Group, which did the architectural design for the mall, as well as the graphics, branding and signage, says the mall meets the growing West Auckland population’s needs.
Design principal David Thornton says the overall layout and design is made to be open and inviting to visitors.
“The interior design was inspired by the natural environment of the West Coast region as well as some of the farming and cultural history of the North West, featuring exposed natural timber, black granite and stylised dappled leaf motifs and tiles which reference the beaches of Muriwai as well as vineyard trellises and the rich farming and agricultural connections with splashes of colour and organic materials,” he says.
“In line with the area’s natural surrounds, high ceilings and large windows invite natural light into the building and selected materials have been used including wall and floor tiles to help to illustrate a black ‘washed up’ sand look with concrete rendered walls.”
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Customers queued on a red carpet to be the first to enter the mall at 9am, while mayor Len Brown made an appearance on his birthday to celebrate the new development.
National MP Paula Bennett cut the red ribbon to mark the mall officially open for the swarms of customers.
People at the opening reported it was very busy, with a few traffic jams.
To help the congestion, retail staff at the mall aren’t parking on site until 13 October as there’s limited spaces.
Chelsea Armitage, a 22-year-old University student, attended the opening today with her mum.
She says the mall looks great and it’s obvious a lot of work has gone into the design.
“I live very close to the new development and everyone in the area agrees it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been really deprived of a pleasant shopping experience out west. While the mall is a great start, it’s the rest of the town centre I’m excited about,” Armitage says.
However, she says the shops are somewhat disappointing, as they don’t offer anything different to nearby malls except convenience.
“The shops are pretty stock standard, with a few upmarket choices like Walker & Hall and Wallace Cotton,” Armitage says.
“I’d love to see more independent stores rather than chains to give it that point of difference and its own personality. Westgate and Westcity already offer the standard retail stores but they lack any sort of vibe to attract customers, which is where we’re all hoping NorthWest will fill the gap.”
More independent stores could potentially be on the cards for NorthWest Two – a second development underway that will consist of 0.8 hectares of retail stores, restaurants and bars.
NorthWest Two is expected to be completed by October 2016.