Australian developer Westfield has just opened a massive £1.7bn shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush, west London that contains 280 shops and 47 restaurants, bars and food stands, far more than you find in most town centres and great subject for commercial photography and architectural photography. These are spread over a floor area of 150,000m2, which makes Westfield London Europe’s largest in-town shopping centre. In the UK it is eclipsed in size only by the MetroCentre outside Gateshead and Bluewater in north Kent.
The 17ha site was brownfield land formerly occupied by defunct industrial buildings and has entailed investing some £170m in urban infrastructure, including one new and one remodelled tube station, an overground railway station, two bus stations and 570 cycle parking spaces. And where the development meets the nearest residential area along its western flank, its perimeter wall does not overwhelm the row of Victorian terrace houses opposite.
The 300-plus retail units have been consolidated into one enormous L-shape. Nearly all shops open on to wide double-decker internal malls, with a four-storey atrium at the centre shown in the commercial photography and architectural photography. The malls are wide and lofty enough to let individual shop fronts blaze forth in a frenzy of competing lights, colours, gimmicks and logos.
In the open-plan food court lining the central atrium, several compact restaurants flow into each other, with bar counters lining open kitchens and sparkle added by an array of recessed spotlights. Another high point of the complex is the so-called Village, which brings together 34 exclusive brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Joseph. Suitably sumptuous and glitzy, this is a sinuous arrangement of clear-glazed shop fronts. Its dramatic centrepiece is a curving champagne bar overlooked by a sweeping glass staircase.