Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 February 2020

Architect David Rockwell designs The Galleria expansion's dining arena

What was to be Al Maryah Central mall will now be part of The Galleria's new wing, which opens in September

External facade of The Galleria extension on Al Maryah Island 
External facade of The Galleria extension on Al Maryah Island 

Known for its luxury brands and fine dining restaurants, The Galleria on Al Maryah Island turns six this year, a birthday it will mark by opening a massive new extension in September.

What was to be a "new" mall called Al Maryah Central will now be part of the extension, and will be called The Galleria, Al Maryah Island.

The space will "transform into a super-regional mall ... for the evolving Abu Dhabi community", according to a statement released by Gulf Related and Mubadala Real Estate and Infrastructure (MREI), the real estate arm of Mubadala Investment Company.

Here's what else we know so far:

Restaurants galore

Instead of a typical food court, the September extension will introduce a culinary arena called Central Kitchens, which will house five multi-cuisine districts conceptualised by architect and restaurant designer David Rockwell. These are inspired by components of one's home – and are called the Living Room, Study, Garden Kitchen, Courtyard and Patio – and will serve more 40 cuisines as part of the expansion, which offers a total of 70 food and beverage outlets. While these are still unknown, we hope there's a Din Tai Fung in there somewhere.

Floor plan of Central Kitchens in The Galleria extension 
Floor plan of Central Kitchens in The Galleria extension

Beeline of luxury brands

The Galleria is known, first and foremost, for the big-name brands that line the mall's marble-clad floors. These range from Burberry, Bottega and Louboutin to Graff, Tiffany and Van Cleef among dozens of others. Come September, luxury buyers can also look forward to browsing through the bags, clothes, watches and jewellery at Chanel, Piaget and Valentino. While these brands have boutiques in Marina Mall and Yas Mall, the aim is for The Galleria to become the go-to for high-end purchases.

The central atrium of the new Galleria extension 
The central atrium of the new Galleria extension

High-street and exclusive flagships

The mall will also add its high-street stores, a roster that currently includes a lone La Senza, unless you're among those who count Coach, Kenzo and Michael Kors in the same category. The new extension will include a 35,000-square-foot Zara flagship, as well as H&M and the capital's first Lululemon.

Missguided is another first-to-Abu Dhabi brand. The affordable British fashion label opened its first UAE store in The Dubai Mall earlier this year, and is known for its collaborative collections with celebrities and social media influencers, as well as its fast-fashion take on street style trends.

Entertainment arena

The Galleria is set to add 250,000 square feet of entertainment which, we are told, includes urban rooftop parks and an Xtreme Zone arena "to ensure there is something for all ages".

While we're not sure what the former entails (a bouncy castle on turf, or a swimming pool, maybe?), we are quite excited about the latter if its Deerfields and Abu Dhabi Mall outposts are anything to go by.

Xtreme Zone is a trampoline park with a zipline, three-storey adventure rope course, rodeo ride and ninja course, and children and adults can choose their own level of thrill, and take part in physical activities that test and improve focus, balance and strength. The one opening at The Galleria is the brand's flagship, and promises to be ever-bigger. Just slip your Louboutins off before you clamber on.

Updated: May 2, 2019 03:58 PM



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