The journey to Westfield Shopping Centre Stratford city felt as though I was getting to the last point in London. The name of the area “Stratford city” implies as though the mall is somewhere secluded from the rest of London, which almost felt that way for me, considering I wouldn’t travel that far to visit a place. Despite the long commute, Westfield shopping centre was a great place to use as an example of space of consumption. A few ideas and vocabularies could be used to describe the spatial experience, some of which include feelings, senses, lifestyles, class energy, bodies, ect.
Westfield centre is similar to most shopping centres considering the aesthetics, the arrangement of international brands and the popup shops in-between the international shops contribute to the feeling and atmosphere of a shopping centre. The term time and space compression could be used to refer to the function of a mall, as it accelerates the activities you’d usually undertake in a shorter span of time. Considering a person visited the mall to catch a movie, he/she would engage in different activities in the mall afterwards, for instance by going shopping or having dinner, which demonstrates the idea of time and space compression as the activities are an example of the destruction of spatial barriers and distances.
Westfield centre is family friendly, suitable for all ages and classes. The centre has a wide range of activities that friends or family could engage in, some include the cinema, the bowling alley, restaurants, a biodiversity playground that was designed for toddlers and junior aged children where they can explore the pond and interact with the giant 12 metre long fish, the frog, dragonfly, water lilies, footbridge and folded paper boats. An aspect from the Disneyization theory, Hybrid Consumption could be used to describe the function of this mall. The combination of services and products in one space is an attempt to retain the customers for longer, in the case of Westfield centre, they offer more than one form of entertainment for their visitors to engage in.
The mall boasts itself with an all inclusive design. Manual wheelchairs and motorised scooters are for customers to hire from the “Shop Mobility”. Other services like personal shopping, click and collect, kids services: kiddy cars for parents to hire and Parent Rooms where parents could head to change their toddles where they’ll find baby-changing tables, child-sized toilets and sinks, private areas for feeding, and microwaves. In addition, the rooms have a play area and television for older children.
There are other elements that increase the ability for customers to spend more time in the centre that relate to the aesthetics rather than the stores or services. The centres spaciousness and high glass ceilings allows for natural sunlight to shine through the mall which gives a sense of openness. The centre also includes seating areas spread across the mall for friends of family to rest on for a short period of time during their visit. In conclusion, many theories could be used to describe Westfield Shopping Centre and only a few were mentioned above. Having those in mind while visiting the centre was an eye opening experience.