MOKO mall in Mong Kok east gets a refreshing facelift. Christie Lee writes.
Built in 1997, MOKO, or Grand Century Place as it was formerly called, used to house a children’s arcade, cinema and supermarket amongst others facilities. Located in Mong Kok east, MOKO benefited from its proximity to the Mong Kok KCR train station, yet was often seen as an inferior cousin to the swankier malls in the area.
Having lost most of its dynamism over the years, the property’s developer tasked Aedas with re-enlivening the tired-looking mall in 2009. Refurbishment work was done in eight phases, starting from the top at Level 5 in early 2010 down to the first retail level, which was completed earlier this year.
By making use of undulating contours, the existing circular atrium was enlarged in a bid to improve circulation, and to draw shoppers to the previously deserted northern part of the mall. Most of the escalators were kept, and a new pair of express escalators was added to direct traffic from the ground floor to the second retail level.
“This significantly alleviates the crowding problem on the first floor, where people always pass by on their way to and from the train station,” explains Ed Ng, Executive Director of Aedas. “It also optimises the commercial value of the retail floors above,” he adds.
Given that MOKO is located in a dense part of town, lighting, as well as spatial enhancement, was a major concern for the architects. Aedas addressed this by way of a new transparent curtain wall façade. Taking the shape of a diamond – a cheeky nod, perhaps, to the city’s consumerist culture – it allows sunlight to pour in by day, and diners to take in the dazzling night views while sipping on a cocktail by night.
To cater to the ever-sophisticated demands of cinemagoers, only four of the original eight cinema houses were kept, with the remaining transformed into IMAX cinemas.
Timber entrances bring life to the pristine white interiors, a sentiment further boosted by the indoor greenery, as well as motifs inspired by trees, leaves, petals, river, cloud and stars.