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Sunway Pyramid mall installs ‘sensory escalator deck’

Sunway Pyramid mall has installed Malaysia’s first sensory escalator deck.

The stack of escalators connects the mall’s upper level car park floors to the retail floors through its latest asset enhancement exercise, which has seen the creation of a rainforest-like environment across six floors of escalators using sight, sound, smell and touch in generating a life-like experience.

The seating area with water fountain at the escalator lobby

CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks Hoi Choy Chan said, “When we were identifying the areas to bring out the soundscape, the escalators stood out in terms of importance and conduciveness. As two thirds of our mall traffic use those escalators, which translated into 2 million visitors per month, the location represented [an opportunity] to make an impression to a great number of visitors. It is a captive market we had not targeted before.

“The whole idea of Oasis Garden was to create a pleasant transition for people walking from the parking bays to the retail space and vice versa,” he continued. “I dare say Oasis Garden is Malaysia’s first sensory escalator deck.”

The pillars and the blank walls are now turned into surfaces of green and brown

Sunway Malls asserts it is looking beyond promotions, advertising and public relations to attract footfall and sales conversion. With one in five Malaysians spending their time in a mall on any given weekend and intense competition in the Klang Valley, Sunway Malls has needed to ensure that brand advocacy and mall affiliation remains a focus amidst a tactical marketing drive.

“We recognise that there is a need for a strategic all-inclusive approach that works in tandem with tactical marketing. Customers at present have a high expectation on service and quality of products.

They are spoilt for choices and they have come to expect more holistically, and gravitate towards brands which can engage with them in a creative manner. Events and promotions bring in the traffic, but we are a 21-year-old mall and I believe we can do more than that so we can impress our customers during their stay with us, converting them into returning customers,” said Chan.

HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks
HC Chan, CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Parks

Birds, crickets, frogs and monkeys

The escalators, connecting CP7 to CP2 parking floors at the Orange Atrium, now feature artificial greenery with sounds of birds chirping, crickets, frogs and monkeys. The sounds of flowing water and gushes of wind complement the entire “garden”, creating an immersive sound experience for shoppers.

“The car park is a relatively harsh environment without air conditioning. The mall can be a very crowded place and the sight of a rainforest-like garden helps to change the feel and mood of the shoppers, allowing them to experience something soothing, refreshing and therapeutic,” said Chan.

The green journey began from CP7, the mall's car park rooftop

Jason Chin, GM of operations for Sunway Malls, said the company engaged Professor Matthew Sansom, the associate dean of Sunway University School of Arts and head of performance and media, to ensure the soundscape was appropriate.

Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls
Jason Chin, General Manager of Operations for Sunway Malls

“He has 20 years of experience working with sound and he explores the relationship of sound with people and the environment.

“The sounds of nature really helped mask the sounds of the escalator mechanism, car screeches, and just general white noise from the crowd.

Paradise Garden has become the perfect meeting point, a landscape to take a break, and an avenue for fresh air that benefits mall and theme park

Authentic sound from 17 species of birds were used to create this soundscape,” Chin explained.

The mall has further enhanced Oasis Garden with scents of the forest, to create an even more immersive experience for its shoppers.

So far, the mall has invested approximately RM250,000 (US$61,500) on Oasis Garden. Sixty per cent of its materials are recycled from previous festive decor and events.

“Our success with Oasis Garden shows that we can turn science into art, and we can translate a space into something people can enjoy. When a visit to the mall is delightful, we know we have done something right for our shoppers,” concludes Chan.

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