One New Change – Shopping Heaven for City Londoners?
Published 16 January 2011
One New Change, the very much anticipated shopping mall in the City, opened back in October last year. At the time, I was quite busy with other commitments so couldn’t make the grand opening day, but from all the news coverage and blog reports, I somehow got the impression that it was a massive shopping centre, one to rival the mega Westfield Mall in Shepherd’s Bush.
Today, I finally decided to pay the shopping centre a visit, to see what all the fuss was about. I was deeply disappointed though. Architecturally, it does look stunning, with an open plan layout with perpendicular corridors crossing each other in the middle, and open entrances instead of glass walls and doors. I think it works rather well, as it makes One New Change seem less stuffy, which most malls do to me because they’re enclosed. The low-key glass facade also fits in well in the surrounding St Paul’s, which is full of other low-key buildings design-wise (apart from the cathedral itself).
I was disappointed because it was alot smaller than I expected, and to be honest, cannot really be considered a shopping destination. During its launch, I kept reading about how One New Change was going to make the City a shopping destination, to rival that of Oxford & Regent Street or Westfield, but it clearly is not the case. Even the Brunswick Shopping Centre nearby seems to have more shops and is more vibrant.
In contrast, One New Change was dead quiet on the Sunday afternoon; no surprise, I suppose, since the City is usually dead on the weekends and January is the quiet time of the year for retail. And out of all the shop units there, most of them were restaurants, cafes, or the Marks & Spencer Simply Food that seems to be catering for office workers’ lunches than shopping needs.
I did discover one interesting new shop there though, which was Wilton & Noble. This shop seems to sell really unique and interesting items, which is best described as being suited for gift-giving when you want to convey that you’re being thoughtful and imaginative. Apart from Wilton & Noble, there were the usual chain stores like H&M and Superdry, as well as Mango, Topshop, and Next.
For me, there isn’t enough stores here to justify a day-long weekend shopping trip to One New Change over Oxford Street or Westfield. Especially since the high street shops on the Cheapside Road outside One New Change are still closed on weekends. Rather, the only visitors to the mall on Sunday seemed to be tourists who had stumbled across it while visiting the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral.