The Dubai Mall

A Mall of Unprecedented Scale

The Dubai Mall has a street frontage of half a kilometre and a gross floor area that spreads 550,000sqm over four levels – a single, continuous volume housing 1,200 shops and parking for 14,000 vehicles supported by a network of roadways. As one of the world’s biggest indoor mall and most visited leisure and shopping destination, it also houses the world’s largest indoor aquarium, an all-weather shopping grove, an indoor adventure park, and an Olympic-sized ice skating rink. Addressing the needs of such a large-scale retail project, DP Architects adopted a city design process and rethought every aspect of retail architecture design.  

Coherence and hierarchy were critical to the mall’s planning. We conceived five planning principles: clear pedestrian circulation with no secondary corridors or hidden corners, visual connectivity to all shopfronts, sufficient parking space and integrated public transportation, efficient service areas for each tenant, and subdivision of the mall into zones with distinct characters.

Middle East
800 Dubai Mall
Category Retail | Hospitality
Year 2008
Size 555,600sqm
Clarity of circulation was important. We devised a clear quadrant circulation pattern without any secondary corridors, a plan that really drove the design. We were very conscious of the need to break up long stretches of corridors with nodes for rest and relaxation.
The triple-height waterfall features a full-scale Diving Man sculpture.
The Fashion Avenue atrium makes use of controlled day lighting and premium surface materials.
Skylights flood the interior with natural light; resting points with comfortable seats are provided throughout the mall.

Structured at the scale of a city, the mall is designed with internal pedestrian streets, nodes and landmarks. Wayfinding and urban identifiers are integrated into the design and organised by wide, straight boulevards terminating at well-defined atria and connecting the many realms of shopping. Entrances perform as circulation focal points — the Media Drum Entrance, the Grand Entrance, the Gold Souk Pavilion and the Carnival Street ‘Red Box’ Entrance. Shops are grouped into families to form islands of specialisation, as eight regions with distinct characters. Along with the large-scale attractions, like the aquarium and waterfall, are unique atrium spaces that perforate the boulevards as social collectors and respite points that use materiality and the play of natural light to create inviting environments along the mall’s boulevards.  

To cater to the steadily rising visitor numbers, the mall is undergoing a massive expansion in multiple phases that will comprise a projected total of six new developments. To date, DP Architects is undertaking four developments which will increase the mall’s retail area from 339,000 square metres to 527,000 square metres.

The expansion commenced in 2013 with the popular Fashion Avenue – 50 additional units will extend the mall frontage and connect the mall with the Burj Boulevard. The Boulevard expansion involves the creation of a new shopping boulevard that will host flagship stores of international brands, linked to the mall’s entertainment zone; and a new entrance to the mall. The expansion also includes the luxurious Fountain Views residences, linked directly to the mall, which overlook Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain. The Zabeel expansion comprises a new building located opposite the Grand Drive that will substantially increase the number of retail and dining outlets and provide additional parking to TDM, as well as link bridges that will connect to the mall.

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Integrated services provided for this project.


2011 International Council of Shopping Centers - Best of the Best (VIVA Award Honoree)
The Dubai Mall
2010 International Council of Shopping Centers - Asia Shopping Centre Awards (Gold)
The Dubai Mall
2004 1st MAPIC Retail Future Projects Awards by the Retail Week & Retail World, Best Retail Development
The Dubai Mall

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