Architectural Design And Modern Leisure Cultural Studies Essay

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The notion of shopping and where to shop has evolved from a classical ancient market place to the complex mega shopping malls we see in most cosmopolitan cities around the world. Unlike the basic idea of a market place where consumers left immediately after shopping, the modern shopping mall meets consumer preferences and choices by combining shopping and entertainment in a unique area called a shopping mall. The fundamentals commercial interior design is an art that requires creative thinking in renovation and design of commercial space. This is not limited to decorating the interior space but also incorporates issues such as the choice of building materials, designing and use of space amongst others. This level of interior design requires the interior designer to have a solid working knowledge of architecture, as well as a sense for creating functional and attractive settings within the space.

Modern shopping centers usually comprises a large complex structure usually with numerous stores, as well as recreation facilities such as movie theaters, fast-food outlets, restaurants, and public areas. Shopping malls are also a collection of independent retail stores, services, and parking area constructed and maintained by a management firm as a unit. It is thus a 20th century adaptation of the historical market place which portrays not only the basics, but a much more exciting new experience to the leisure of shopping.  

Due to the need for shelter from the weather and the provision of many indoor facilities, the modern shopping centre has been coined to possess features of recreational parks and modern museum. The exquisite and first class aesthetic design usually manifests the beauty of architecture and interior design.  

Coupled with the fact that they are usually designed to produce a "wow effect" on first time visitors, people may use them simply as comfortable leisure and entertainment sites. These leisure facilities or entertainment generally comprise restaurants and food courts, playgrounds, bars amongst others. Nowadays some of the modern shopping centers and malls provide their customers with more complicated leisure facilities such as ice-skating, funfair, and designed balconies with flowers and modern gardening. 


The purpose of this study is to illustrate that customers' preference of the shopping mall they choose to do their purchase, or where they choose to spend their leisure or fine time is strongly dependent on both the architectural design and aesthetics of the shopping mall. The mega complex shopping mall in Istanbul called Istinye Park is used as the case study in this research. This study illustrates the efficient use of both exterior and interior space, the use of architectural design, lighting, color, and other elements to make a shopping mall attractive to customers.

The study also shows that the beauty and attractiveness of a shopping mall depends strongly on the quality of interior design, and the availability of essential leisure services, even for passersby or those who just want to spend some quality time with friends and family, and also those who simply want to socialize. In a bid to portray the design of leisure facilities in shopping malls, we will take into account the impact of the available leisure space, the presence of retail outlets, the efficient use of both interior and exterior space, natural greenery amongst others and how they make a shopping mall appealing for both leisure and shopping to both customers and mere visitors. 

In order to visualize the importance need for good architectural infrastructure in improving the leisure space in a shopping mall, a sampling was done by use of questionnaires. This sample population was base on 50 people who were both teenagers and adults in Istanbul. Photographs were used to show a clearer view of how the shopping space was being used and also the esthetic nature of the mall can easily attract people to prefer  Istinye Park to others shopping malls in the same locality. 


The idea and design of shopping centers during the late 60's and 70's was very basic and was often characterized by unimaginative exterior presentation or pragmatic layouts. Features of these centers often included large car parks with no outdoor activity, no relation with the local community and no social activity. Large box shapes without any luxury interior design. Entertainment was far fetch in shopping malls in the past. 

With the changes in consumer preferences with time and the need to meet increasing competition and consumer satisfaction, a lot of changes have been made to keep up with the recent modern advancement in marketing and consumer satisfaction. Nowadays, shopping malls without mind blowing attractions and vast leisure facilities will be doomed for closure since they will be unable to meet the changing style and fashion currently reigning in the industry. Recreation time had been recognized as a commodity and hence the retail sector started to provide recreational opportunities such as: cinemas, cafes, lifestyle retail entertainment in various forms. In addition, some people use shopping malls uniquely as a leisure milieu due to its potential to satisfy their numerous recreational and leisure time and modern shopping malls do just that. 

Then the 90's came along with the growing world movement of new urbanism and smart growth, a search for authenticity, and an even greater focus on entertainment and eating. Planning authorities have encouraged the establishment and revitalization of town centers. The establishments of mixed use leisure areas where people can rest and play have become the focus of new shopping areas projects.  

There exist  some recent trend comprising increasing spending on food and merchandise, greater diversity of uses in shopping centers, particularly the provision of entertainment ,lifestyle attractions. Some of these leisure attractions include cinemas, play ground, creation of precincts targeted towards certain parts of the market. Certain aspects that have also influence the development of these activities relate to creating environments that respond to changing demographics including more singles and childless couples and increasing average age.  

Leisure which has become very important in recent years could be defined as freedom from regular activities or the cessation of work to spend time in an unhurried manner at ones convenience. Creating an environment where people feel comfortable has been a major breakthrough in modern shopping malls. Concentration on leisure activities such as eating, drinking and movie going, the importance of design aesthetics including the use of high profile architects/interior designers has increase the zeal for people to use these attractive shopping malls. 

Shopping centers provide safe, pleasant meeting places for the community often providing a focus for entertainment activities. As noted previously as stated by previous writers on interior design, in recent times the interior designers of shopping malls create special places consist of entertainment and leisure spaces. There are different types of leisure spaces like outdoor, semi-open space. Often what is being provided is high quality public domain which comes at no cost leisure to the public. A variety of trees, greenery area, shading elements, benches, fountain, and ramps, all define an environment for entertainment and enjoyment.  

Most large shopping centers have always provided semi-public space to allow for the circulation of customers. These spaces are generally required to be publicly accessible, but usually only during operating hours. Due to the nature of these spaces, in some cases, concerned authorities have excluded such areas from floor space calculations. These spaces are becoming more public in terms of level of accessibility provided and the actual nature of the space, often as a requirement of the concerned authority.  

In most modern shopping malls, the architect creates or incorporates space/structures that will enhance the customer's leisure through the following ways; 

Indoors space (Closed space): Usually the architect creates elements which portray the beautiful scenery of the mall. The use of different forms, colors, materials and lighting must be very appealing and attractive to the customers. Internal playgrounds, cinema theatres, restaurants, book stores and music theatres and bars are also created for indoor amusement. All these facilities are usually distributed of different floors of the shopping mall.

Outdoor space (open space): Here the architect tries to use nature as a yardstick to provide entertainment to customers. Decorated gardens embellished with beautiful flowers and tree, fountains, pools, greenery and lawns with available sitting area are provided for the customers' entertainments. 

Semi open space: In such areas, the architect provides a quasi-open environment providing shading elements, special furniture, canopies and even bars and restaurants for entertainment. They usually have large window which give a natural view of the outer scenery from the shopping mall .Many shopping centers are designed to collect good natural light within the internal space to create an outdoor feeling even though the customer may be indoors.


This space could generally serve as a milieu for eating, drinking relaxing and socializing. This enables the customer to feel that they are enjoying both indoor and outdoor environment in a unified environment.  

In order to efficiently evaluate the quality and beauty of the entire mall space, some very crucial elements must be considered. These include the lighting, forms, color and furniture type used in the design. The position, quality and application of these elements are of paramount importance because they portray the exquisite and desired aesthetics of the shopping mall.






Istinye Park is a large prestigious multi-floor shopping mall with first class design and numerous facilities located in Istanbul. It is indisputably one of the most beautiful and completely integrated shopping malls in the region. A vivid description of this mega complex can be easily shown by separating the various parts of the shopping centre. The three major sections of the complex are the main building, the central area and the traditional bazaar section.

The Main Building

The main building is the central leisure and entertainment space. It is supported with central external beam and column and is three storey's with overall view of the ground floor. The hard shell canopy encloses a nine meter vertically moving arena. There are also some rotunda features. These features are made up of some dancing water elements which are vibrant with lighting elements and round shape suspended ceiling. Some hanging decorative element, artificial trees and glass ceiling for natural lighting make up part of the interior design. This design makes the environment more attractive for people who want to gather in the art gallery for purposes of relaxation or entertainment. All these can be seen on figure 2 below.


Istinye park main building, (fig 1, left picture showing exterior/fig 2, to the right showing interior of main building).

The Center Area

The center area is composed of an open air town square that includes a greenery park and fashion or high street shops. The outdoor space around the shops is designed with curvilinear shaped pools, colorful fountains, beautiful artificial lighting elements, and greenery landscape for people who want to relax by strolling. There is also a range of restaurants and bars available for customers who may desire eating or drinking outdoors. A wide range of activities can also be performed outdoors. The presence of a beautiful landscape, the presence of shading elements, attractive greenery open bars and restaurants(as seen in figure 4), trees to give a natural splendor in the open area and also acting as shelter provide abundant leisure space for the customers. The presence of an attractive fountain with glamorous lighting elements, arranged in the same axis in a curvilinear pool, also provide an attraction for customers to relax and spend their time when they visit the mall. This is evident in figure 3 below.



The Traditional Bazaar

The third section of the shopping mall is the traditional bazaar which gives a classical touch to the beauty of Istinye Park. The traditional bazaar area is different from the rest of the center in that it bears a traditional or historic representation of Turkey, and blends both the ancient ideology of a traditional market place, and a technologically daring idea of a modern shopping mall in a unique structure.

The traditional bazaar presents a historic façade of Istinye Park which is inspired from Turkish architecture. From the figure below, it can be seen that the interior designers created traditional windows and door to manifest the traditional ancient architecture. There are also ancient fashioned wooden stalls which act as stands for presenting products such as fruits and vegetables for sale. The open presentation and view of these products makes the environment look exactly like a real old bazaar. In this bazaar are also many other ancient style leisure facilities such as traditional restaurant, stores that specialize in selling ancient or traditional fabrics and pottery, wooden furniture amongst others.

Regarding the design of the walls, the arcade walls give the bazaar space a more historical touch. To most customers, shopping in the bazaar gives them a feeling of shopping in the country thus giving the entire shopping mall a multi-purpose function. This is a major attraction to people who come to not only cherish ancient architecture, but who want to reap a taste and feeling of ancient interior design. This traditional bazaar thus brings a unique kind of leisure and fulfillment to people who cherish a mixture of cultures and ancient architecture. A new form of entertainment and experience is provided by this section of the shopping mall. The figure below is an illustration of how the traditional bazaar looks like.





A sample population based on 50 people was used and analysis was done by means of a questionnaire. The questions were aimed at gathering information about customers' perception on the elements of a good shopping mall, and the impact of leisure quality on their choice of any given shopping mall. The sample population was made up of mostly youngsters and young adults who are the vibrant section of any population. Photographs were used to show a clearer view of how the shopping space was being used, and also how the aesthetic nature of the mall can easily attract people to prefer  Istinye Park to others shopping malls in the same locality. 

The choice of the sample population was triggered by the fact that youngsters and young adults have proven to be those that have been affected by what could be termed a "shopping virus". The zeal to shop, the quest for quality and style, and to an extent the feeling of living up to society`s expectation are some factors which were considered in selecting the sample. It has also been noted that those in this age group save very little of their disposable income. The bulk of their income is spent usually on shopping and other forms of entertainments, a majority of these which are made available by a well designed shopping mall.

The questions asked in the questionnaire were geared toward obtaining the reason for the customer's choices and preferences for one shopping center from another.

To effectively analyze the data collected, SPSS software was used. 


From the analysis of the data collected, the following results were found.

The table below shows the different ages groups of customer used in the analysis. It is seen that people between the ages of 19 and 35years of age are the greatest users or visitors of Istinye Park. As earlier mentioned, this age group is composed of young vibrant people who cherish leisure and entertainment. Most of those present in this group have a very high affinity for leisure and entertainment and spend a bulk of their disposable income on consumption expenditure.

Due to the presence of top class the leisure facilities such as bars, exotic restaurant and cinema theatres, young people who have a high interest in spending their leisure time in such areas are inclined to coming to Istinye Park.

There are also numerous games rooms and playgrounds which are of particular interest to children below 19 years of ages. Customers above 35years of age are inclined not only in enjoying their leisure time in these magnificent bars and restaurants, but also love to make us of the sitting area, gardens and greenery area located in the outdoor space. The rest of the users are children 


Most of the customers visiting Istinye Park depicts that their preferences for the park rather than others in the same locality is due not only to the available wide mix of branded shopping lines, but also the embellishment of magnificent leisure and entertainment sites in the mall. These entertainment and leisure sites have a lot of potentials in attracting people because of the variety of functions and spaces with unique design, as well as a historical touch of the park. The presence of the beautiful traditional bazaar gives a natural ambiance to shopping mall and a touch of the ancestral meaning of a market place. This facility is unique to Istinye Park and acts as a major attraction to several adult customers. 

The table and chart below show customers perception of the quality of the leisure and entertainment space in Istinye Park. It can easily be seen that, most customer's or visitors to this mall have a very high perception of the quality of leisure and entertainment provided by the shopping mall. The multiple leisure and entertainment facilities such as the exotic restaurant and bars, play ground, cinema theatres and the traditional bazaar, makes a majority of those visiting the park to be satisfies beyond their expectations.

The leisure space of the park is beautifully decorated and lighted. The sitting space is constructed with a great sense of style and convenience. All these and a lot more have contributed to making people choose Istinye Park not only for shopping but also for leisure activities. 

The table below illustrates the various perceptions of customers regarding the leisure and entertainment provided by Istinye Park.  

The preference of different leisure services provided by Istinye Park is analyses in the table below. The results show that customers prefer spending time enjoying the nice bars, restaurants and cinema theatres. This is evident from the results and could also be seen as a natural phenomenon. This is undisputable since those who are inclined to this type of leisure are mostly the middle age population of society.

The saloons have different attractive spectacular designs which make customers inclined to spending more of their leisure time in these bars. Last on the list of preferences are the playgrounds in the open space. In addition to the modern exotic bars and restaurants, there are also very classical bars and restaurants constructed based on ottoman architecture in the traditional bazaar. These give a peculiar feeling on ancient architecture which is particularly appealing to those customers above 35years of age. 


Below is a vivid analysis of the aspects of the shopping mall that are most attractive and appealing to people who visit the mall.

Istinye Park is beautifully constructed with almost equal importance given to the various attributes to the mall. This can be clearly seen from people's impressions as they try to make a choice on the section they prefer most. From the chart, almost equal weights of preference are placed on lighting, form, furniture, material, and color use. All the different interior design elements are highly preferred to those of other shopping malls although some are slightly preferred to others.

From the results of the analysis, it can be seen that all the interior design elements are equally important. The absence of any in the design elements of the mall will definitely decrease the attraction of the space. For example use of natural lighting inside the building during the daytime by way of the transparent roof gives a natural feeling of day. The use of the artificial lighting elements at night is also very convenient. Therefore the use of both lighting systems during the day portrays an awkward and unattractive appearance to the shopping centre.

The use of effective colorful designs is very attractive for people. The correct use of color can have a strong impact on the appearance of specific architectural designs. Color is also influential in portraying certain features of the mall and in determining people's feelings about certain works of art. Istinye Park has successfully achieved this attractive coloration and used it effectively to its advantage. The blend of different colors on the different spaces has given the shopping mall a more pleasant and attractive view both internally and externally.

The traditional bazaar exhibits an entirely classical form of art. The presence of ancient arcade form and wooden material give this part of Istinye Park a unique characteristic. Most customers are attracted from modern part of building to this traditional part in order to enjoy the blend of ancestral architecture with to the modern structure.

In the traditional bazaar, the furniture made using traditional techniques and styles is also an attractive feature to this section of the mall. Furniture in this section for the sitting area is completely different from those of the other sections. People come here to socialize and enjoy this architecture which is full of originality. Therefore all of these factors are essential for designing attractive space for customer.


Regarding the use of the open space, the analysis confirms that the open space provided by Istinye Park is a value-added to the beauty and leisure of the shopping mall. The presence of open greenery, attractive fountains, opens bars and restaurants, shading elements, and good sitting space make the open space more useful and attractive.

The open restaurants with shading elements and different kind of furniture provide sufficient space for eating and enjoying. The playground for children's entertainment also gives this opportunity for this space to be effectively used for a variety of leisure activities. There is also some sitting and relaxing area around the fountain with attractive lighting design. At night, this are gives a completely exotic view and provides a milieu for relaxing. The natural greenery and beautiful landscape also catch the attention of customer when shopping.


From the analysis of the questionnaires, it could clearly been seen from the results that the present of a beautiful aesthetic environment, a variety of fashion shops, beautiful infrastructure and the presence of both exterior and interior space with numerous leisure facilities are some of the factors that strongly influence customer choices of Istinye Park shopping mall. 


The fundamental or traditional view of a market place is to bring buyers and sellers for the purposes of trade. As earlier mentioned, this idea has been transformed over the years to something completely new. The notion of buying and selling, the spending of quality with both family and friends, the interior and exterior design of the shopping space are some additional aspects that are involved in the modern idea of a market place.

Interior architectural design and leisure in any given shopping mall is of absolute necessity for good business. A life example is Istinye Park which has all the inclusions of a modern shopping centre. From every indication as per our analysis, the effective use of color, space, forms, and finally an inclusion of both ancestral and modern architectural design in a unique way, can completely transform a shopping mall from being only a business area, but also a leisure site for customers and non customers alike.

From the results of this study, the essential aspects which customers consider prior to making their various choices of where to shop depend on whether the shopping mall is has the following inclusions;

Proximity to their habitat or place of work,

The inherent availability of numerous leisure areas both indoors and outdoors such as  cinemas, playgrounds, top branded products, fountains, exotic bars and restaurants and the availability of branded shops to make shopping more leisure oriented than the traditional idea.

Good aesthetic designs such as form, colors, lighting and other materials which make the shopping centre very attractive and appealing to customers.

The presence of natural beauty such as exotic gardens and attractive greenery and other natural landscapes also are becoming very relevant in determining customer  preferences of the type of shopping mall they will desire to visit.


On the whole, Istinye park demonstrates efficiently use of both outdoor and indoor space.

The use of lighting and colors to brighten the shopping mall and make the customer feel satisfied regardless of whether they are visiting for shopping purposes, leisure or both is a practical aspect of most modern mega shopping centers like Istinye Park. 

The additional presence of the traditional bazaar which provides a classical ottoman setting of a bazaar is an additional and unique feature of the shopping mall. 

Istinye Park also provides a hand full of leisure and entertainment facilities for both children and adult visiting the mall. This gives and additional feeling or value added to the customer who goes for shopping and a choice to the person who just wants to enjoy some quality time in a good and entertaining environment.

As a result of the countless exiting facilities provided by Istinye Park, most of the customers after visiting the shopping mall get complete satisfaction that the shopping meets both their shopping needs as well as their need for entertainment and relaxation. This extra satisfaction or value added to shopping is derived from the presence of other leisure facilities as well designed modern and traditional restaurant and bars with a multitude of product, a line of branded product and fast food outlets. This shopping mall has social and cultural activities like cinema, playground, and temporary exhibition. In addition most of the outdoor entertainment is offered free of charge to the customers thus acting as an additional motivator for them to revisit the mall and also do free publicity to both friends and family.