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Southgate’s spectacular return

14 Nov 2011

Southgate’s spectacular return Image

Southgate ushered in a new era in November with a sequence of spectacular events launching the refurbished shopping centre.

It is the first upgrade for the 20-year-old centre – which many believe opened up Southbank and the riverfront to the city.

Over the course of a week Southgate unveiled new artworks, updated technology, held a VIP dinner and had a spectacular fiesta party weekend for the public to ensure the relaunch caught everyone’s attention.

The official opening by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle came at a VIP dinner where about 200 guests were invited to enjoy the upgraded surroundings.

The way in which the upgrades were explained to guests was almost as spectacular as the changes themselves.

Dexus head of retail Glyn Williams introducing the features as comedienne Corinne Grant, via a big screen behind Mr Williams, gave guests a guided tour.

Features of the upgrade include artistic projections on the floor which will change with the seasons (Summer is signified by rose petals) and interactive pillars that react to movement around them.

A new digital information desk will help guide visitors around the centre, with seperate touch screens so that a number of guests can use the desk at any one time.

The jewel in the new Southgate’s crown is the Southgate cinema. Using the screen on level three, a movie theatre will be set up and movies shown twice a week – a free service to customers.

Mr Williams was excited to reveal the cinema saying: “The Southgate Cinema is an exciting new addition and the first free cinema at an Australian retail property.”

“It is an important part of the transformation which has been designed to produce an enhanced customer experience while also recognising the direct link with the arts precinct,” Mr Williams added.

The exclusive VIP launch was followed by the Southgate fiesta launch weekend, featuring live music, amazing performances and fireworks displays.

The weekend was designed to get the general public’s attention and draw people back to the retail icon.

Large crowds gathered to enjoy entertainment including live bands, whimsical dance and movement performances.

The Friday night crowd enjoyed a fireworks display to celebrate the centre’s re-emergance onto Melbourne’s retail scene.

The Southgate redevelopment takes advantage of its prominence to Melbourne’s arts district, with many of the improvements having a heavy focus on art.

The most visually prominent artwork is the repositioning of an old friend of Melbourne’s, Ophelia.

Deborah Halpern’s mighty sculpture now sits proudly between the main entrance of Southgate and the river, impossible for the public to miss.

Adding to this is a new installation along the roof of the foyer. Riverside Corolla is the work of local artist John Meade.

Mr Williams was thrilled Southgate had incorporated its arts surroundings, saying: “Visitors will enjoy this interesting and engaging new artwork along with seeing Ophelia in her new location as a meeting place on the promenade.”

“John Meade’s Riverside Corolla is a welcome addition and a reaffirmation of our commitment to the arts at the centre with Southgate becoming the gateway to the city’s arts precinct,” he added.

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