Designed by international architecture and urban design firm, The Jerde Partnership, on behalf of Expo LLC, Mandarin is the first and only outdoor lifestyle entertainment center in Russia. Set within the country’s largest resort city, between the Mzymta River and Black Sea, Mandarin is a new town center of beachfront entertainment attractions for the nearly 100,000 Adler district residents, nearly 450,000 Sochi residents, and approximately 2.5 million annual visitors. In addition to providing an important celebration and gathering space during the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics, Mandarin serves as a vibrant, open-air entertainment village, a first to market concept for the local community, that will promote year-round activity and enhance the region as an international resort destination.
Jerde’s design fulfills the developer’s objective to ‘bring the world to Sochi’ with a mixture of top restaurants, fashion retail, casual eateries, entertainment venues and gathering places. The intricate, yet intimate village design of Mandarin includes nearly 33,000 square meters (17,000 square meters Gross Leasable Area) within 10 separate two level buildings all connected by plazas, bridges and walkways. The rich design centers on unique outdoor spaces, highlighted by carefully crafted views of the beautiful waterfront. In addition to over 80 shops, cafés and restaurants, Mandarin features a diverse set of recreation and entertainment attractions, including: water features and a ‘singing’ fountain; children’s center; nightclub; concert venue; beach activities areas; and a one-of-a-kind multimedia show about Sochi.
An iconic 36-meter landmark, the ‘Mandarin Tower’, serves as the campanile of the center, standing at the heart of the two main plazas – Fashion Quarter (Модный Квартал) and Entertainment Plaza (Площадь Развлечений) – welcoming locals and visitors. Capped with a glowing orange glass top, the tower provides an upper-level public viewing deck where visitors will experience unmatched 360-degree views of the region, spanning from the sea to the Caucasus Mountains, from central Sochi to Abkhazia. Completing the network of European-style pedestrian streets and spaces are Mandarin Promenade (Мандариновая Аллея) and Encounter Square (Дворик Встреч).
“Adler is a cozy seaside village with wonderful pedestrian scaled streets and passageways to the beach, showcased by walking paths, parks, squares, plazas, water features, and seating areas. Our design continues this character and texture within the spaces and as elements of discovery,” says Oleg Kiselev, Jerde senior project designer. “Mandarin is a village with its own streets, plazas and a main central promenade directly connecting the new place with the nearby century old Bestuzhev Park.”
The entertainment anchor of the center is a 3,500 square-meter multimedia laser show called “Zhemchuzhina Sochi” designed specifically for Mandarin by Laservision based in Australia. Set in a 1,300-seat amphitheater, it blends an interactive water, video, laser and light show. The main laser show attraction will operate in the evenings and will offer a variety of programmed shows throughout the year.
With its central location and important role for the upcoming Olympics, Mandarin establishes a pivotal retail entertainment anchor that will enhance public activity and recreation during the height of the season and beyond. The name Mandarin (tangerine) is a recognized symbol of summer and refreshment, and derives from Sochi’s rich history of being the only place in Russia capable of cultivating tangerine groves. Symbolically referencing this unique regional trait, along with the area’s resort feel inspired by the surrounding beach and ocean, these natural inspirations are integrated with a casual contemporary design to showcase a place where people can experience something new and fresh with each visit. An intricate weaving of grey and orange coloring reflects the beach pebbles and tangerine trees, while other textured and natural tones blended with wood and glass provide a neutral village backdrop for the seaside setting. Large potted trees, beach planting and paving further enhance a setting of outdoor ‘rooms’, complementing the tenant areas and open-air setting. Jerde collaborated with the landscape architect, Bennitt Design Group, to carefully integrate the architecture with the vital landscape elements.
“As we do in all of our designs, we carefully studied the local context to make this an authentic attraction for the region, including looking at scale, heights, materials, landscape, and natural connections to the surroundings,” said Tammy McKerrow, Jerde design principal. “Mandarin is about a communal setting, as much as it is about lifestyle and entertainment. It is our hope that people will gather in the plazas and create new memories and experiences,” says McKerrow.
As a Los Angeles based design studio, Jerde has created several premier open-air community leisure centers like Mandarin around the world, long before ‘open-air’ and ‘lifestyle retail’ were being widely developed. Other landmark outdoor places include: Fashion Island in Newport Beach, USA (1989); Del Mar Plaza in Del Mar, USA (1990); Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles, USA (1993, 2001); La Cittadella in Kawasaki (2003); Brilliance West Shopping Center in Shanghai (2004); Santa Monica Place in Los Angeles, USA (2010); and Konoha Mall in Hashimoto (2011). Mandarin is the firm’s first completed project in Russia, and like many Jerde places, is expected to attract large numbers of visitors. On average, Jerde’s open-air retail entertainment places (not including mixed-use projects) attract approximately 10-12 million visitors annually.
In addition to Mandarin, the Jerde-designed Kuntsevo Plaza is currently under construction in Moscow and scheduled for completion in summer/fall 2014. The mixed-use complex is being developed by ENKA TC and will provide a dynamic new model of transit-oriented urban live, work, play.