Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Plac Unii open but underwhelming

The Grand Opening attracted dense crowds - a week and a bit later, on a Tuesday lunchtime, the crowds were no longer there. Plac Unii, Warsaw's latest shopping mall, is now fully open for business, though I can't say I'm particularly impressed by the retail choice.

The mall itself is nice enough, and it's a mere two minutes' stroll from my office, but the shops are nought but the usual mall suspects - the retail outlets you can find in Arcadia, Promenada, Złote Tarasy, Galeria Mokotów, Blue City, Klif, Wileńska or any of the lesser Warsaw malls and indeed in malls across most of Poland's agglomerations. There's an H&M, Zara, Maximo Ponsi, Benetton, Deni Cler etc etc. Empik, Inmedio, iSpot etc. A Vistula for me should I run out of suits or shirts.

Food wise - poor. Wiking - overpriced home cooking with a Scandinavian twist, Thai Wok - overpriced stodge with a vaguely Asian twist, a Subway. No Scottish Restaurant, no burger monarchy or pizza outbuilding.

Has a quarter of a century of the free market made me too fussy, or has Warsaw shopping got a tad dull? Architecturally, however, I can't complain. It's a fine building from within (I commented on its external appearance recently), on a sunny day like today, a pleasant place to be. Some snaps then...

Plac Unii is airy and spacious. There are still some vacant retail units.

The interior is 'Y'-shaped with shops on the ground and first floors, a food court and supermarket in the basement. Left: looking west towards ul. Waryńskiego, Costa Coffee tables situated on a bridge linking two passages. Office windows line the upper floors, a glass roof lets the sunshine flood in. 

Maybe local office workers have not yet got used to it, but for a Tuesday lunchtime, the place was very quiet. Or maybe it will get busier as the weather gets worse... Warsaw's best malls are much busier.

There was still an air of 'just finished' about Plac Unii; men in hard-hats and hi-vis vests mingling with shoppers, architects talking on their iPhones while consulting plans. 

Right: I'm curious as to how the glass roof will cope with half a metre of snow that will settle upon this structure if not this winter than certainly some time this decade. The building was designed by the late Stefan Kurylowicz, who died in a plane crash in 2011.

Good to see the neon: Supersam was Poland's first supermarket (1962). It stood on Pl. Unii and was knocked down in 2006 to make way for the new retail and office development. The brand is back, as a supermarket down in the basement of Plac Unii, though I'm told the retail experience is even less exciting than a Carrefour Express.
This time two years ago:
Visceral and Permanent, Part II

This time three years ago:
Autumn colours, locally

This time four years ago:

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