Orchard Central Mall in Singapore

Saturday evening my wife and I were wandering down Orchard Road.  We didn’t have any real goal in mind.  We just wanted to be out of the house for a while and take in the sights.  Orchard Road is usually pretty interesting.  I’ve seen everything from centurions to acrobats to musicians there.

While walking down the road we saw a building that we didn’t recognize.  It looked like a recently renovated, recently opened shopping center.  We decided to check it out.  Sure enough, it was a new mall called Orchard Central.  As we passed through the doors we were handed a brochure.  We were also handed a fairly basic looking map that proved to be rather useless later.

Rather than make our way upstairs inside the building, we used the long escalators that were mounted to the front face of the building.  It was a really neat experience.  Two of the escalators we went up traversed at least four floors nonstop.  Also, there was a plexi-glass shield beside the escalator that came about as high as my head and not much else so we got a great view as we went up.  Adding to the atmosphere there are several observation decks outside the building.  The escalator leading to the roof area was closed.  I suppose it’s not finished yet but I’m interested to go back when it is, if just for the view.

Here are two shots I took from the highest observation deck I could get to:

A view of Orchard Road from a deck at Orchard Central Mall
A view of Orchard Road from a deck at Orchard Central Mall
A view of Orchard Road from a deck at Orchard Central Mall
A view of Orchard Road from a deck at Orchard Central Mall

After reaching the top and taking in the view for a while we moved inside.  The interior of the mall is not at all what I expected.  First off, most of it is still closed and under construction.  I would even say that there are more closed than open stores there.  That’s not a bad thing, I suppose, but it just seems odd.  The second thing that was weird about the mall is that the interior didn’t look like a mall.  My wife was the first to point it out and after she mentioned it, it was pretty obvious to me too.  It looks like the building used to be an office building and the interior was renovated to turn it into mall space.  The hallways were just too oddly placed for it to have been intentional.

Inside Orchard Central Mall
Inside Orchard Central Mall

The other thing we discovered about the mall is that it’s incredibly hard to get around in.  That’s why I mentioned that the map we got at the front door on the 1st floor was practically useless.  If you start from the top down it’s like trying to work your way through a maze full of dead ends and trick passages.  There are places were it feels like there should be a way through and there’s  just a blank wall.  There are other spots where you would think there’s a way to the stairwell, but in front of you is a huge open area that looks 3 floors down.  Oh, or a fake rock climbing wall that spans four stories and causes you to have to backtrack.  We could have taken the elevators all the way down to the first floor, but that wouldn’t have been much fun.  Instead, we went around, by trial and error, until we got tired.  Then we found an elevator and took them to another floor that had escalators, which we then took down to the first floor.  Sounds complicated right?

Besides its crazy interior, there wasn’t much interesting about the mall.  It had a pretty standard selection of stores when we went through it.  There were a few names I didn’t recognize, but they were on all of the shuttered, still under construction stores.  When we go back to get a look off the roof, hopefully they’ll be open too.

A final thought:  I wish there were a First Person Shooter with a stage modeled after this mall’s floorplan.  I mean, look at it.  It even looks like something from an FPS:

Empty area of Orchard Central Mall
Empty area of Orchard Central Mall

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