Natural light as a source of dynamization of the shopping space

To the northeast of Panama City, outside of the historic city centre, but very well connected, is Costa del Este, an area of urban development with high standards of urban design in infrastructures, street section, green zones and equipment installation.
At the heart of this area is the Atrio Mall, a newly designed and built shopping and leisure centre. Located on a plot with restricted heights, the project includes a buildable space on four car park levels (underground) and four shopping premises, finished on the top with a single fifth level dedicated to the complex’s main attractions: the cinema and restaurants spaces.

The central part of the volume is occupied by a large atrium that connects the different heights vertically.

This is a type of building in which the highest valued premises due to their profitability are those located on the ground floor, with easy access and connections for the customers. The project team from Arango + has implemented a strategy that facilitates users’ movement to the upper floors, increasing their commercial performance. As part of this premise, firstly, a second floor 0 has been generated at a height of 5 m above street level, with ample passageways and very good connections to the rest of the floors.

Secondly, vertical movement has been given great relevance with lifts and escalators occupying a studied position in the layout, facilitating customer mobility. Finally, to accentuate this vertical commercial flow, natural light has been given a place of prominence, through a large skylight that crowns the central atrium.

The construction process gives continuity to these objectives, promoting maximum distribution of this natural light through the selection of smooth finishes and clear or metallic tones that multiply in different angles the inclusion of outdoor light.

Comenza’s Glass-Fit SV-1301 railing system, with stainless steel supports and handrails and tempered glass panels, installed both at the building entrances and in the traffic areas around the central atrium, participates decisively in the authors’ design, contributing to distributing and enjoying the natural light and complementing the rest of the selected finishing touches. The maximum transparency and a careful design that minimise the joints between panels, making them practically unnoticed to the user, reinforcing the sought-after crossover views and the visual relationships between floors and shopping premises. This is key in a project that makes mobility a fundamental artery, commercially and in terms of space.

Atrio Mall

Panamá, Panamá

  • Glass-Fit SV-1301