“Shopping with a whole new dimension” is promised at newly developed R&F Mall Johor Bahru, with its blend of indoor-outdoor design, first-in-Malaysia anchor tenants, and strategic location at the Singapore-Malaysia Custom Immigration Quarantine (CIQ): the latest in shopping-mall design that resonates with the tropical Malaysian climate and lifestyle-wishes of local urbanites as well as international visitors, such as those from nearby Singapore.
By Nadia Willan
Created by R&F Development Sdn Bhd, the mall is the first retail project of its kind in the Johor checkpoint area of Southern Malaysia, attracting a win for Best Retail Development at the 6th annual PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Malaysia) in April 2019 for the renowned Hong Kong developers. China-based Guangzhou Residential Architecture Design Institute oversaw the architecture, interior design, and landscaping: offering extensive support to creating the vision of a modern-day Malaysian mall that is worthy of an award.
A convenient covered bridge links the CIQ to the three-storey mall which boasts basement parking and covers a gross floor area of 800,000 square feet, with a net letting area of 532,000 sq ft. The sweeping and curved interior design leads to both indoor and outdoor spaces that inject a purposeful leisure-focused environment and relaxed ambience. This complements the tropical climate by allowing light, air and a sense of open spaces to permeate throughout the retail floors.
The effect is to add a new dimension to the retail experience at R&F Mall Johor Bahru as recognised by the judging panel who praised this creative design concept. “The flowing and open-air design of R&F Mall Johor Bahru is pleasing to the eyes and creates a vibrant ambience. It definitely goes against the structure of boxy shopping centres, despite being enveloped by several towers.”
The lifestyle-driven project creates a retail oasis within an urban setting, creating communal areas with tree-lined paths, pocket parks, tropical plants, and a well-thought-out garden-style character that is as chic as it is laidback. Meanwhile, the community atmosphere is enhanced by themed events and festivals to give the mall a feeling of movement too. The outdoor dining concept, semi-open plaza, and mall’s functional and adaptable spaces add fluidity too.
High-profile international tenants have created additional buzz about the project by choosing R&F Mall Johor Bahru as their entry into the country. These include Jaya Grocer and Carl Juniors as well as children’s educational centre Kiddomo. Another international name is China’s Emperor Cinemas that are debuting for the first time in Southeast Asia at the mall, bringing the latest cinematic luxury.
The retail project’s low-rise design continues the appeal of shopping experiences that do not feel confined and cut off from the natural elements, in immense air-conditioned structures with no sense of creativity. At the same time, entertainment, big-name brands, and dining and leisure facilities are varied, promising a full retail experience with a community feel.
R&F Mall Johor Bahru is part of the R&F Princess Cove development including a 5-star hotel, offices, commercial area, residential units and more.