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Manufaktura begins its modernisation

A large modernisation has started in Manufaktura. It is an exceptional investment in many respects - it was preceded by a specialist consumer survey on the current preferences of visitors. On the basis of this survey, spectacular changes are planned in the arrangement of space, choosing the latest generation solutions in line with the global trends in the retail industry.
The commencing modernisation is definitely the largest investment in Manufaktura's 13-year history. Representatives of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH - the owner of the facility, as well as Apsys Polska – the Property Manager, have been preparing for this undertaking for several years. The design of the changes was preceded by multiple-stage, individually developed surveys of customer opinions and preferences. The scale of the investment is also unusual - the amount of PLN 90 million was allocated for the modernisation of the shopping centre building.- When we were working on this project, we paid particular attention to the customer experience area, which is particularly important in the field of modern retail - says Marcin Stokowiec, Investment Director at Apsys Polska.
Although the modernisation will cover the whole shopping centre, the facility will operate without interruption for the entire 17-month period of planned works. What is interesting, the concept of changes was developed by the team of Sud Architekt Polska, which was responsible for the design and construction of Manufaktura. Their architects and designers perfectly feel the spirit of this building and they proposed a design responding to expectations, but also consistent with the unique atmosphere of Manufaktura. - The main inspiration was the textile history of Łódź, but also genius loci of Manufaktura and its role for the city. Our deep knowledge of the city, its culture and history helped us to design a strong contextual project. The ultimate effect is a subtle blend of a modern, industrial and refined atmosphere - says Jocelyn Fillard, Architecture Director at Sud Architekt Polska. - Today, we have the opportunity to create a project that, unlike other shopping centres, can be created only here - at Manufaktura in Łódź. It is a unique tribute to local traditions and history - sums up Jocelyn Fillard.
Manufaktura has been open for 13 years and it was designed almost two decades ago. Perfectly adapted to a modern lifestyle, it has been meeting the requirements and expectations of its visitors for many years. But the world does not stand still - it is changing at an incredible pace and the ways of spending free time, shopping or relaxing with relatives are also changing. Manufaktura still wants to keep up with these developments and new customer expectations as it has so far. Manufaktura wants to forestall them and remain a unique, irreplaceable meeting and shopping place for the inhabitants of Łódź and the region. Therefore, representatives of the owner - Union Investment Real Estate GmbH and the Property Manager - unanimously decided that before starting the works related to planning the modernisation, they will carefully learn about and analyse the current preferences of visitors to Manufaktura.
A survey of the needs and preferences of customers that were ordered by the Reteam Group was very specific. - Today, getting to know your customer - their personality, preferences, and the reason why they come to us - is crucial. The competition is huge, because apart from other commercial facilities there is also a whole, extensive e-commerce market. That is why tailor-made projects are so important. This is why retailers should pay a lot of attention to the preferences of customers. If a place is not attractive, people will look for alternatives - explains Kathrine Heiberg, the owner of Reteam Group. The survey used the mind16 methodology to create anonymised consumer behaviour profiles related to their comfort, design, shapes and colours. The results were very specific and clearly linked the Manufaktura modernisation project with customer preferences. The answers of the respondents were one of the foundations for creating a comprehensive, innovative concept of the change.
- We adopted an inclusive strategy, assuming that the needs of all our visitors are met. Among our guests are also our neighbours, people for whom Manufaktura is a place of everyday shopping, customers from the region, as well as tourists from Poland and around the world. While planning the modernisation, we were driven by the values that guide us in our daily work: we were overcoming schemes and we were searching for creative and original solutions - says Holger Siedtmann, asset manager of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH. - We are satisfied that the survey confirmed, among others, that Manufaktura is pursuing current shopping and entertainment trends and is a favourite place for the residents of Łódź, of other parts of the region as well as tourists - adds Holger Siedtmann.
What is going to change in Manufaktura?
After 17 months of work, in autumn 2020, the Manufaktura shopping centre building will look different than today. The changes will be visible immediately at the main entrance from the market side. The vestibule will disappear and revolving doors will operate in the place of automatic doors, which are more ergonomic and which will provide better thermal properties inside the building. The new floor in the main entrance will be a continuation of the market paving system. The wooden floors that delighted the first visitors in 2006 will undergo a thorough renovation. According to the current trends, the front of the shopping centre building has been designed in shades of grey and will refer to the industrial character of this place.
Of course, new technologies are a must in a place that determines standards for the entire industry. The rotunda will feature state-of-the-art solutions in the field of new technologies. Sophisticated light arrangements will be a huge advantage and will provide an amazing experience.
The lighting system will be replaced almost completely. SKR Light - a British company specialising in light architecture, was invited to cooperate. The designers have developed an arrangement that will increase the attractiveness and efficiency of interior lighting. It is very important to raise the energy efficiency parameters. - The purpose of this investment is, of course, to modernise the building, increase the comfort of use and time spent in the facility as well as to introduce energy-saving solutions that favour environmental protection. Thanks to the replacement of lighting, energy consumption will decrease by as much as 30 percent - explains Sławomir Murawski, director of Manufaktura.
The biggest changes will take place in the restaurant area. The space will be significantly brighter with more natural daylight due to a huge skylight mounted in the roof structure. The shed construction will be a reference to the characteristic element of industrial architecture of the 19th century. Factory halls were once illuminated this way. The air-conditioning and ventilation system will also be replaced, which will significantly increase the comfort of time spent in the centre. The arrangement will change completely - floors, furniture and lighting will be replaced. Everything will be performed in accordance with current trends in interior design - there will be a lot of wood and finishes made of natural materials. Natural greenery will ensure a friendly atmosphere.
In the restaurant area, a zone dedicated to families with small children will be created. But these are not the only attractions for the youngest guests of Manufaktura. - The outdated kids play in the gallery will be replaced by something exceptional -adds Jocelyn Fillard, who is delighted with the project.
The investment will also enable the separation of the new lease space and will create a place for new brands in Manufaktura. Approximately 1000 m2 of GLA intended for tenants who are waiting for free spaces in this facility will be made available. The windows on the first floor will be moved up by more than a metre, which is an important change. This will significantly increase the visibility of brands in this part of the shopping centre. The logos will be exposed better, maintaining a functional and aesthetic layout of the space at the same time.
According to customers' needs, the leisure zones will also be reconstructed. Designers focus not only on convenience, but also on a modern, bold design, skilfully combined with original solutions in the design of greenery.
Big challenge
How was such a complex project planned in terms of organisation? The work schedule was polished to the smallest detail. The big challenge was to synchronise the activities of many subcontractors and divide the works into stages. - All of this to make the modernisation as trouble-free for tenants and visitors as possible. Small installation works will be carried out during the day, and the remaining works at nights and on non-commercial Sundays, so that guests of Manufaktura will not feel any inconvenience due to the renovation - assures Sławomir Murawski, Manufaktura's director.
Of course, the modernisation of the shopping centre in Manufaktura will be accompanied by a special information campaign - as unique as the planned investment. It will be extremely original and attractive for customers who - without feeling the burden of the works - will be able to follow the news, find out what their favourite place is, get to know it, and enjoy it before they enter the finished facility. Everything, as always in Manufaktura, perfectly prepared, framed and served.
What expectations does the modernisation of Manufaktura bring? - Manufaktura, thanks to its history, original architecture and modern features, is a unique facility in our part of the world. It is one of the most recognisable entertainment and shopping facilities in Europe. Within our real estate portfolio it is one of our biggest and at the same time most successful assets. We are sure that this investment will confirm the iconicity of this place and I am convinced that the refurbishment, as part of our overall asset strategy, will be an important cornerstone for future success even during a retail market that we currently see becoming more challenging. At the same time it shows that we strongly trust in the location and especially in the professionalism of the Lodz administration that, like us have a vision, and therefore constantly invests in infrastructure, education, research and technological development and culture - explains Holger Siedtmann, Asset Manager of Union Investment Real Estate GmbH.