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Future Retail Destinations Competition was an open competition organised by the Architectural Journal in partnership with the Crown Estate in order to reimagine out-of-town shopping destinations for year 2030. The competition was staged into phases. Initially the entrants were asked to submit a single panel showing their innovative retail destination of approximately 20’000 square meters. In second phase the twelve shortlisted teams had to present their concept design to a panel of judges including Sam Jacob of Sam Jacob Studio, Gensler’s retail expert Lara Marrero and AJ’s Will Hurst. The selected six winners were invited to a site visit to one of the Crown Estate’s retail parks. In the last stage the initial concept had to be applied to the encountered situation. The competition ended with a day-long event during which all teams presented their proposals to judges and other winners.

[Fragment of the competition entry]

In 2030 we see the future of retail as being dominated by online sales. A visit to the shops will become an experience more akin to visiting a museum where one feels satisfied and part of a shared cultural event, similar to the way current museum shops operate such as the V&A Shop that annually attracts 16 million visitors. In order to create the cultural magnet the future of retail as a destination and a place to shop will transform into a hybrid environment that is universally accessible and in which all citizens are members. A place in which experimental technologies can be tested, where the latest prototypical innovation and work in progress (WiP) products are demonstrated and where individual customisations and making can be witnessed being made connecting customers, or the citizens of Nirvana with a greater sense of ownership and vested interest. The Nirvana is more than a retail park, existing as a framework of shared and evolving ideas, values and practices that enables those from all walks of life to flourish as individuals and in communities irrespective of when and where they live and what they do.


Crown Estate




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