How our design students re-envisioned the future of retail

Model Moxham building in Broadway

Mirvac is one of Australia's premier developers and one of our Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) partners. As part of their two-year development of the heritage-listed Model Moxham building in Broadway, Sydney, Mirvac and our industry team put together an interdisciplinary brief for our students, open to the best and brightest brains from communication design, retail design, digital media and games.

Late last year, Australian property group Mirvac set Billy Blue College of Design at Torrens University students a task.

Mirvac is one of our beloved Work-Integrated Learning partners. They’re also one of our country’s premier developers, with operations across the investment and retail services landscape, and a reputation for quality and excellence built over a 50-year period of award-winning work. It’s fair to say they’ve been shaping Australia’s urban areas and shopping centres for a long time.

As part of their two-year development of the heritage-listed Model Moxham building in Broadway, Sydney, Mirvac and our industry team put together an interdisciplinary brief, open to the best and brightest brains from communication design, retail design, digital media and games.

The brief (in brief)

Essentially, our close industry partner Mirvac wanted us to pitch overarching concepts for the Model Moxham makeover that would offer a seamless, consistent identity and ethos across all elements. The guiding principles of the project’s vision were:

  • Honor the Heritage – Department store old-world charm, nostalgia
  • Build a Community – Authentic connections, engaged, social, eclectic, bold
  • Create a Happy Hub – Your best self, joyful, brave, personal wellbeing
  • Bring Outdoors In – Healthy for humans, energised, inspired, biophilia, sustainability
  • Embody Pure – Space for the mind, embraced imperfections, oasis, escape
  • Integrate Technology – Tailored experience, frictionless, convenient, data-driven.

They wanted to see “bold statements, intuitive design and integrated user journeys. The Model Moxham team are ready to unlearn what they know about retail as it is today, to incorporate new and innovative strategies, uses for physical spaces and channels for people to interact with each other and brands, and technology to achieve the ultimate user experience.”

So… a little bit ambitious.

The metamorphosis of Model Moxham

Naturally, our students wanted to do something special with this opportunity . They asked themselves questions such as, “What if we could create a magical experience that becomes iconic to Sydney on a global scale?”

It’s the sort of idea that gives you butterflies, right?

Yeah, literally, in the case of one memorable pitch by Communication Design students: live butterflies.

Imagine a shopping centre that features a live butterfly garden, and has that breathtaking iconography spread its wings throughout the entire structure. Picture light shows, murals, sensory touchpoints – a signature Sydney attraction to draw not only shoppers, but visitors from all over the world.

Hear what it was like working with Mirvac directly from the students and learning facilitators involved. 

Mirvac’s response?

We’re not sure whether there will be a butterfly garden in Sydney’s inner west, but our students received some great feedback from Mirvac. “This is really exciting and we are really enjoying seeing all the ideas come to fruition,” they said. “Seeing where you started and where you’re taking it forward and some of these ideas you could easily implement in a commercial sense.”

If you’d like to know more about how our industry team work, and want to explore opportunities to partner with us, please check out our Industry Engagement page or email us at industry@torrens.edu.au.

And if you want to learn more about studying Interior Design, Communication Design or Game Design, click here to start your journey.

 

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