Sneak preview of new look Mailbox in Birmingham
The Mail gets a tour round the mall after £50 million revamp.
The big unveiling of The Mailbox will take place at 10am on Thursday, when the public is welcomed into the madeover mall.
But the Birmingham Mall got a sneak preview inside the shopping centre today following its £50 million, two-year transformation.
There is still a lot to do in the next day and a bit but the new interior is already looking good.
The most dramatic, and obvious difference is that the ‘box has got a lid on it.
When the Mailbox was originally converted at the beginning of the ’00s the centre was intended as a thoroughfare that was lined with designer stores.
But that shopping street was a wind tunnel and because the centre was open to the elements, there was no escape when it rained.
Now, thanks to Stirling Prize-winning architects Stanton Williams, it has a roof.
The double height ceiling has fins running across and folding down the walls, diffusing the daylight that floods in through the skylight above.
Below it the first floor atrium will be the Urban Room.
A 90m long public space, it will work a little like the lobby of an upmarket hotel, a place for people to meet in, to relax in (on seating which is being moved into place tomorrow) and take a break between shops.
The stores that run alongside the Urban Room have glass fronts that disappear like magic into the walls, leaving them open for customers to wander in and out.
The shops opening on Thursday will be a mix of the familiar and some famous names who are new to the Mailbox.
They include Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.
While the store in the Bullring does Hilfiger Denim, this is 30 per cent bigger and will be one of the brand’s only shops outside London to offer men’s tailoring, selling smarter jackets and trousers with the “Tommy Twist”.
With its framed covers of Life magazine on the walls and leather club chairs, it is aimed at a more business-minded rather than just casual market. Think American preppy with an edge of eccentricity.
It also has an expanded women’s wear section, including a wider range of shoes.
The first 100 customers who spend more than £150 in the store will receive a Tommy Hilfiger umbrella worth £55
Also opening on Thursday is the Calvin Klein boutique, which is only the second stand alone CK lingerie store in the UK and the only one outside London.
It stocks the full Calvin Klein range for men and women, including underwear, loungewear, sock and tights, and perfume.
It also has the much sought after Modern Cotton range, which become an instant best seller when CK model Kendall Jenner posted a picture of herself wearing it on Instagram.
Calvin Klein will be running a bounce back voucher offer on Thursday, with 15 per cent off buyers’ next purchases.
Other shops surrounding the Urban Room which will be opening on Thursday include Hugo Boss, Gieves & Hawkes, LK Bennett and Daniel Footwear.
In the retail mall on the ground floor there will be Castle Fine Art, a gallery specialising in original and hand signed limited edition works, and two pop-ups – premium male fashion brand East Club and designer children’s boutique Cloudo Kids.
Some of the mall shop fronts are still covered in grey hoardings but new brands are expected to open in early 2016, including Armani Collezioni and Jaeger.
It is 10am on Thursday that the Mailbox will be opened to customers.
From 12 – 2pm there will be Champagne for the first 300 lunchtime shoppers, a specially commissioned dance performance from Rosie Kay Dance Company at 12.30pm, and music from Birmingham Conservatoire.
Inspired by the creative campaign Life Made Beautiful , the weekend will feature dance choreographed by Rosie Kay, live performances from Birmingham Conservatoire and 100 Beautiful Moments which are set to surprise shoppers with unexpected treats.
Running throughout Saturday and Sunday (October 24 and 25) the Mailbox Sessions will showcase the very best what it has to offer in fashion and style and will feature interactive cocktail and canapé demonstrations.
A pop up photography exhibition has been staged in conjunction with Birmingham Royal Ballet, showcasing portraits taken by celebrated photographer, Marta Kochanek, alongside a display of photography from A level students at Solihull School.
Source: Birmingham Mail