The newly expanded Fashion Avenue - which is a million sq. ft. extension – showcases over 150 new luxury shopping and dining outlets including flagships and new concepts. The three levels of the extension have been opened so far, with some spaces at the top floor designated for perfume shops, and the first and ground floor for fine jewellery. Spaces for dining and fashion are spread across all levels. The highlight of this new extension is the expansive skylight, wherein shoppers can enjoy the views of the iconic Burj Khalifa as they wander about inside the mall.
The Fashion Avenue took nearly three years to construct but it wasn’t without its unique set of challenges because of the exclusivity of the materials as well the required skill set. We spoke to Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM, Soft Services, Emaar about the architecture, the marvelous interiors and the cleaning and maintenance practices at this extension.
“The three-year construction phase presented our Soft FM team with various challenges like dealing with the dust, huge piles of construction sludge residue, etc. And often, we had to deal with large amounts of water from accidentally drilled or damaged water pipes, too,” says Deutschbein when asked about the construction phase and the challenges involved for this extension.
Despite the challenges, the end result is a premium shopping destination with inspired architecture, influential art and stylish interiors. The quality of the materials and attention to detail are unlike anything seen before inside a mall. “The choice of materials, furniture and accessories are modeled around a high-end hospitality setting, thus offering an experience of a hotel yet meeting the requirements of a shopping centre. This setting further enabled us to meet the demands of the operations team in terms of the maintenance cost and durability of the materials,” informs Deutschbein.
For the FM and cleaning services, the mall has outsourced service providers. For instance, the marble floors are maintained by Marble Masters and all housekeeping staff is provided by Farnek. The team from Black Tulip takes care of the plants, while the skylights and façade are cleaned by Spider Access. All together, a combined workforce of 100 staff is involved in the upkeep of the Fashion Avenue. “The maintenance and servicing of Fashion Avenue adheres to the same high-end standards followed by a luxury hotel. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that we expanded our team with an experienced high-profile housekeeping manager, to ensure the appearance and high standard of the Fashion Avenue. Besides, all the service staff come with prior experience in the hotel industry. Even the cleaning chemicals have been carefully selected; the cleaning procedures have been reviewed along with special training sessions for the staff. Further, for cleaning every other surface in the mall premises, we have specific cleaning requirements that we strictly comply with,” informs Deutschbein.
Along with the numerous art and decor statement pieces showcased here, expansive lighting installations have a designated cleaning regime. Deutschbein adds, “Each art and decor statement piece was shipped with a specific cleaning and maintenance manual and it was important for us to understand the requirements from the start. Many are single, fragile and valuable items that require careful monitoring, patience and care during the cleaning process. The most sensitive ones are secured for safety reasons in glass showcases.”
Apart from the intrinsic luxury setting available for the visitors, what caught our attention is the public washrooms at the Dubai Mall extension. These washrooms are at par (if not more luxurious) with restrooms in some of the city’s most luxurious hotels. They come with individual vanity stands for sink, marble tops, golden slim stainless-steel legs and full-length mirrors.
“It has always been the aim to create a five-star atmosphere even with regard to the washroom area at the Fashion Avenue. However, from the perspective of cleaning we faced a new challenge. Our cleaning staff had to undergo a specialised training to deal with the visitors - according to hotel standards. We needed a new process to ensure the daily freshly washed face towels are made available in a public washroom,” explains Deutschbein.
Talking about the sustainable practices followed at this new expansion, Deutschbein informs that all the taps and toilets are equipped with sensors to avoid any unnecessary water consumption. In addition, the flushing system are in line with the latest green regulation from the Dubai Municipality and ensure only a minimum volume of water will be discharged for flushing. Besides, the entire expansion is equipped with low power LED lights and the beautiful skylight provide enough daylight to lower the need of artificial lights. Also, at the BOH (Back of House) is a motion sensor lighting system installed. The new Fashion Avenue is an amalgamation of a hotel, art gallery and a shopping mall, thus making its maintenance a real challenge on its own. Nevertheless, the overall effect and vibe of the extension continues to wow visitors as they walk into a whole new world of shopping.