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We understand the art and science of creating a better retail experience.

A successful retail development is one that draws people in, and makes them want to stay and play. It must be designed with the retail experience in mind, to optimise footfall and enjoyment without ignoring the essential considerations of flexibility, future sustainability and best value.

Arup works with developers, contractors and retailers – from household names to global luxury brands. This gives us a well rounded and informed view of the ingredients of success in retail spaces.

Our design skills are comprehensive. We can provide core engineering for a vast mall or design a refined boutique experience for Chloé or Chanel. Our fire engineers can improve evacuation strategies, and our specialists in pedestrian flow can predict the movements of tens of thousands of people using advanced analytical tools.

Singular experiences

Arup brings fresh thinking to each project, and to attaining each client’s goals. We are as adept in providing project management for retail construction in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district as we are in designing Wal-mart stores that consume fewer natural resources.

Where international brands require consistent experiences worldwide, we draw on Arup’s global network. For instance, we have worked with Zara in Melbourne, Rome, Oporto and Barcelona, where we helped create Spain’s first store to gain LEED® CI Gold certification.

We also design for the specific demands of retail in busy airport terminals, rail stationsmixed-use developments and even healthcare facilities.

Future thinking

Arup’s advanced technical skills equip us to shape shopping’s evolution, practically and aesthetically.

Our work on ION Orchard, for example, adds something new to the shopping experience in Singapore. There, we used sophisticated techniques in 3D modelling to realise a free-form façade that was the first of its kind in Singapore. It is a playful sculptural canopy that provides shelter and shade for pedestrians, a screen for multimedia and lighting displays and an invitation for shoppers to enter the development’s retail core.

More pragmatically, a sustainable future for retail demands new ideas that will maintain profitability while working better for our environment and communities.

Arup often rethinks design to help clients find cost savings. We did this for the Southgate Shopping Centre in Bath, England, within the constraints of its World Heritage site. We also improve the performance of existing retail assets, as in our retrofit for the St James Centre, Edinburgh.

Equally, we help clients to set new benchmarks in environmental sustainability – such as the energy-efficient, all-season comfort of Beijing’s Parkview Green FangCaoDi, a hotel, shopping and commercial hub. For community-minded clients such as the Co-operative Group, Arup draws on shopping’s potential to stimulate local investment and create job opportunities by incorporating retail space into regeneration projects.

Global contact

Peter Bull
  • Peter Bull

    Peter Bull

    Peter Bull

    Global Retail Business Leader, Global Building Services Engineering Leader

    Your best solution to date?

    I enjoy the robust, efficient and flexible solutions. A good example is the HVAC concept for Bristol International Airport. It delivers comfort and energy efficiency and allows for the intrinsic refreshing and reorganisation of the retail and passenger spaces it serves!

    Why is it significant?

    It was one of the first displacement ventilation solutions conceived for large public buildings in the UK.

    Your particular skill?

    Low energy and low carbon solutions through the use of building physics.


    Demystifying building engineering! Creating comfort and excitement!

    Why Arup?

    Change is recognised and encouraged. I'm always encouraged to do things better!

    Anything else?

    Visiting Industrial Professor at University of Bristol, designer of the Engineering in the Built Environment modules.

  • Global Retail Business Leader

Explore our work

Istanbul Kanyon. Image credit John Fass.

Project: Istanbul Kanyon

A city within a city - a vast multi-use development covering 250,000m2.

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Interior view of the Zlote Tarasy complex in Warsaw. Credit

Project: Zlote Tarasy

A lively multi-level 'canyon' combining nature with retail and entertainment.

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The 27,000m² John Lewis store at St David’s Dewi Sant by night. Credit, Phillip Handforth Architectural Photography.

Project: St David’s Dewi Sant

Mixed-use development in the heart of Cardiff.

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Electric lorry delivering supplies to stores on Regent Street. Credit, Clipper Logistics.

Project: Regent Street delivery and servicing reduction scheme

Driving footfall, increasing sales and addressing environmental targets.

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Campaign: Building high-rise better

Using ground-breaking design to realise the world's most inventive skyscrapers.

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