Architects and interior designers PMDL Architecture + Design have recently completed a new department store for luxury travel retailer DFS Group in Siem Reap, Cambodia. T Galleria by DFS, Angkor is set within the cultural surroundings of Siem Reap and in close proximity to the UNESCO world heritage site of Angkor Wat.
The integration of locally inspired motifs was an inherent process of the design, and PMDL worked together with DFS Group to develop a retail environment that is filled with cultural references. These include wall and column sandstone carvings that were produced by local artists Artisans d’Angkor, as well as traditional hand-made encaustic tiles and a ceiling installation inspired by the colours and context of the region. Over 8,000 sqm of retail is centered around a two-story atrium space, with a Beauty Hall featured above, and a Luxury Travel Accessories area offering fine leather goods, shoes and smaller fashion items on floor below.
Luxury Travel Accessories is a simple and understated open-floor retail concept, where mixed-category product is displayed on lime-washed timber screen displays set against a grey and white hand-crafted encaustic tiled floor. Limed timber creates an environment suited for a travel destination, whilst encaustic tile draws reference from colonial-era Cambodia, creating a space that is reminiscent of the bygone days of the country’s colourful architectural history.
Surrounding the Fashion Hall is a line of open luxury boutique spaces that further enhance the open shopping experience, with large showcase windows to allow transparency as well as providing an opportunity for brands to personalise their environment. High in the atrium, in the heart of the building, is a twisting, orange 60-foot art installation entitled “Khsai Ponnareay” or “Luminous Ribbon”, which ties the store together and is visible from all angles of the space. “Khsai Ponnareay” is set against fine hand-crafted timber screens emotive of local vernacular timber Khmer architecture.
PMDL’s initial concept was developed with DFS Group and Urban Arts Projects (UAP). The sculpture symbolises the colours and culture of the region, in which ceremonial robes and practical clothing textiles have long played a key role. The curling, flowing path of this work suggests our individual journeys to enlightenment and self-liberation, whilst the golden orange hues symbolise happiness, emotional strength and rejuvenation of the spirit.
Fine Watches and Destinations frame the perimeter spaces of the store, each creating a distinctive world of their own. Fine Watches is set in plush and private surroundings at the rear of the store, whilst Destinations above the entry foyer has an open market feel. This is emphasised by the arrangement of merchandise that allows local products to stand out in all their vibrant colours, with daylight filtering through the perforated window screens and ceiling fans that add a touch of nostalgia but also offer cool respite to the weary sightseer.