Having served generations of shoppers, the iconic Funan DigitaLife Mall closed on 1 July 2016 for a three-year redevelopment which will transform it into a new-generation integrated development.
Having served generations of shoppers, the iconic Funan DigitaLife Mall closed on 1 July 2016 for a three-year redevelopment which will transform it into a new-generation integrated development.

For decades, the iconic Funan DigitaLife Mall has been the go-to place for all things IT. Three years from now, however, it is envisioned to be something quite different—a new generation integrated development housing what CapitaLand is calling ‘a mall of the future’. .

Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand, explains, “We envision a new-generation integrated development where communities can work, play and live in a collaborative and interactive space, including a ‘mall of the future’ that will set a new benchmark for experiential retail in Singapore, and beyond. It will respond to Singaporeans’ growing desire to engage in more enriching and interactive experiences, beyond just consuming goods and services.”

As Funan holds a special place in Singaporeans’ hearts, CapitaLand and The Straits Times launched a digital campaign titled #BeyondIT for Singaporeans to share their ideas for its future in three broad categories—Play, Create and Live.

The campaign ran for six weeks from 15 April to 31 May. Each week, the top five ideas were selected and entered into a pool, from which a panel selected the final top three entries at the end of the campaign. The 30 weekly winners were each rewarded with 50,000 STAR$® (worth S$50 CapitaVouchers), while a top prize of 1,000,000 STAR$® (worth S$1,000 CapitaVouchers) awaited the overall winner.

What Singaporeans want in the mall of the future

In envisioning a technology-enabled retail playground, participants submitted more than 1,000 novel ideas, ranging from “slide-talators” that make moving between floors a playful experience, to babysitting robots that watch over kids in a high-tech playground. Week 1 winner Nicholas Chin shared his vision of a blackbox theatre with scaffolding seats that can be easily reconfigured for a variety of performances, while fellow winner Rebecca Tan chimed in with her hopes for an immersive cinematic experience—including a 360-degree screen, noise-cancelling headphones and individual temperature controls.

Other weekly winners thought up ways to rejuvenate the typical shopping mall experience, like Steven Lee’s idea of incorporating running and cycling tracks along the perimeter of the entire development; and Jensen Mong’s suggestion of a giant Singha Gallery to showcase the work of local photographers and provide a creative space for them to converge and exchange ideas.

Participants will be able to see their ideas translated into a large-scale graffiti artwork that will adorn the hoarding of the new integrated development. This is led by Singapore graffiti artist Ceno2, who is best known for his fine art spraying style inspired by classical painters such as Michelangelo and Rembrandt.

The redevelopment of Funan DigitaLife Mall will begin in the third quarter of 2016. Plans include the addition of about 388,000 sq ft to the mall’s current gross floor area of 482,000 sq ft to create a sizeable new integrated development measuring 870,000 sq ft— about the size of ION Orchard.

Sending Funan off with a bang

To extend its appreciation to shoppers and tenants for their support, Funan lined up a series of activities in the lead-up to its closure.

Mr Wilson Tan, CEO of CapitaLand Mall Trust Management Limited, the manager of CMT which owns Funan, said: “Over its 31 years of history, Funan DigitaLife Mall has won the hearts and trust of shoppers as the go-to place for the widest variety of IT, digital and mobile products under one roof. Many generations of Singaporeans also have fond memories of Funan as the birthplace of several well-loved food and beverage brands, as well as a meeting place for music aficionados who used to visit the record stores there. To express our appreciation to our shoppers for their support over the years, we lined up a bumper crop of community events, mega sales and special promotions for our shoppers to enjoy.”

Activity highlights included the Believe IT or Not sale from 14 to 17 April which delighted shoppers with unprecedented offers; and the launch of Sony PlayStation’s game title Uncharted 4 on 9 May, a nod to Funan’s position as the definitive launch pad for major game titles in Singapore.

From 6 to 12 June, Funan played host to the biggest edition of the annual Funan Anime Matsuri. The week-long festival celebrating Japanese pop culture was the largest free-admission cosplay event in Singapore, featuring a record 12 celebrity cosplayers and anisong artistes.

This was followed by the Great Singapore Sale from 13 May to 26 June, as well as a series of atrium sales headlined by its tenants. Topping it off, a thank-you party was held at Funan’s atrium on 30 June for tenants and loyal shoppers.

While it's farewell Funan for now, let's look forward to a bigger and more exciting, new-generation integrated development in three years!