Grand opening: The Galleria, Al Maryah Island
A new destination for chic luxury shopping
The Galleria on Al Maryah Island is Abu Dhabi's new destination for luxury and contemporary retail and dining experiences. Featuring an unrivalled collection of designer labels and premium brands as well as sophisticated culinary names to know, The Galleria has been designed by architects Elkus Manfredi (USA) and Benoy (UK). The building's impressive Great Room's sculptural roof is designed by RFR Group Paris and features one of the highest concentrations of super-luxe labels in the Middle East - all set across 355,000 square feet with breathtaking views of the UAE capital. The mall will play host to over 50 'new to the city' names such as Alexander McQueen, Celine and Jimmy Choo.
On the day of The Galleria's official launch, Buro 24/7 spoke to Kenneth Himmel, President and CEO of project developers Related Urban and Managing Partner of Gulf Related:
Buro 24/7 | Congratulations on opening day! We'd like to ask you specifically about The Galleria's name, how did you choose it?
Kenneth Himmel | There was quite the debate about it, actually. We felt the grand sculptural cover artwork conjures up the feel of the Milan Galleria - one of the world's classic retail shopping spaces, and so took the lead from that.
Buro 24/7 | What can we expect from the launch today?
Kenneth Himmel | Much excitement! It just feels good for it to actually be real and happening now.
Buro 24/7 | What makes The Galleria a different shopping experience to the vast competition in the region?
Kenneth Himmel | Yes, there is great competition of a high standard here. I think that the calibre to which we have worked really sets us apart, though, it's been an incredible working experience to be able to preselect labels to work with and build the structure of the project around them.
Buro 24/7 | How so?
Kenneth Himmel | We've had the chance to get important retail players involved from an early stage, and work to the requirements of the standard of brands they carry. For example the Chalhoub Group, Al Tayer and Richemont were on board before we started building, meaning that the mall has been designed in a beautiful, very luxurious way to reflect names like Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton and Cartier, as well as an incredible food and beverage portfolio to match.
Buro 24/7 | Which restaurants are you most excited about?
Kenneth Himmel | After spending time in Dubai, I can definitely say that bringing ZUMA and Roberto's to Abu Dhabi is only a good thing. Plus there's the Rosewood Hotel & Resort on Al Maryah Island, which is well worth visiting.
Buro 24/7 | You've enjoyed a fantastic career of developing major retail spaces across the world, are there any other projects that stand out?
Kenneth Himmel | We are currently working on the Hudson Yards development on the far West Side of Manhattan - a 7 level shopping experience that means redeveloping established retail space. It's a world away from the luxury of being able to bring together a handpicked selection of brands, like we have at The Galleria, Al Maryah Island.