The mall management companies in our neck of the woods have spent the past several years removing the water features and other nature related scenery from our shopping malls. The majority of this ambience has been replaced with IKEA like furniture and carpeting all arranged at a jaunty angle.
They’re missing the boat.
While in Greenville, S.C. for work I stay at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Greenville. Like many other Hyatt hotels, there’s quite a bit in the way of waterfalls, multi-level landings, glass walls, plants, trees and other environmentally suggestive bric-a-brac around the place.
I find the effect to be quite pleasant.
One of the hardest things about living in Upstate New York (other than the urban decay, taxes, fleeing industrial ventures and stifling government) is the weather. The malls of the 1970s and 1980s had an atmosphere that made you want to be inside because it reminded you of that pleasant outdoor feeling. Fountains. Trees. Mulch. You can’t find that in the middle of December in the Lake Ontario Snowbelt but you certainly could find it at Penn Can Mall. Today? Carpeting and furniture.
We often talk about the fact that Americans sit on their ass and do nothing recreational anymore. Walking around the mall isn’t the same as running the Boston Marathon but at least it’s movement. Give people a reason to move. Revive the pleasant atmosphere of a waterfall. Let Midge and Marge sit next to a statue with water shooting out of its naval as they sip their Starbucks and play Canasta.
Why can’t we have pleasant indoor scenery anymore? Life was never meant to be sterile with carpeting set at a jaunty angle.