SM AURA Premier, the latest venture of SM Prime Holdings at Bonifacio Global City, finally opened to the public last weekend. Boasting of a more upscale look than your typical SM mall, SM Aura is indeed worth a look.
Although still somewhat unfinished, the building’s architecture stands out and can be easily mistaken for a gigantic sculpture in a middle of busy intersection.
Designed by Miami-based architectural firm Arquitectonica, the mall’s architect Willy Cosculluela drew inspiration from nature. He wanted to create a sculptural form that conjured images of “the flow of water, the grace of air and the strata of the earth.”
The L-shaped mall -- the company’s 47th -- is sexy, in terms of curves. The building looks smooth and sleek from just about any angle, however, a part of the complex is still undergoing construction which can be an eyesore.
With a total gross floor area (GFA) of 234,892 square meters (sqm), SM’s premier mall does not only provide retail spaces but is an integrated development that will also feature a convention center, a mini-coliseum, a chapel, and office towers.
WORTH A LOOK
While it was officially launched last Thursday with a lot of hoopla, the mall area is still not entirely ready, with many retail stores still unprepared to receive customers or still under construction.
The mall is also difficult to get to currently due to a right-of-way dispute between the local government of Taguig and the BCDA.
SM Aura Premier looks more high-end than its siblings. Its mainstay retail spaces -- SM Department Store, SM Supermarket, Watsons, Our Home, Kultura, ACE Hardware, plus Toy Kingdom, Forever 21 and Uniqlo -- were intentionally made to look more upscale.
American actress Sarah Jessica Parker was an apt guest at the mall’s launch as she is best known for her role as the fashionable Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO hit comedy series, Sex and the City.
Despite its high end feel, the SM Department Store carries many of the same brands available in other SM locations.
What really sets Aura apart is that it houses several local and international brands that are not available at other SM malls and other commercial malls in the country. More than a handful of international brands will open their first stores in the country at the new mall -- French brands such as Petit Bateau and Minelli, Spanish brand Suiteblanco, English brand T.M. Lewin, and Italian brand Stefanel.
There are unique local shops like L’Indochine, which offer exotic items from Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, among others, which are sourced directly from local artisans and craftsmen.
While many of the retail spaces stand empty right now, they should be filled in a couple of months. Most of the new international brands will be opening between June to July.
In the meantime, local favorites such as Penshoppe, Bench, Kamiseta, and global brands Uniqlo and Forever 21 are now open.
Meanwhile, SMX Convention Center and the mall’s IMAX theater are ready for public use. The Sky Park on top of the building, the Pod -- a unique dome set against a garden backdrop designed for events, exhibits, and performances --, and the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod, will soon follow.
Many guests at the opening raved about the food offerings and the mall’s Supermarket. Paul Boulangerie, a French family bakery and patisserie since 1889, has opened at the ground floor. It has also been announced that an NBA Café, Trattoria Chef Chris, and Todd English Food Hall will open at Aura in a couple of weeks, as well as restaurant brands like Lugang Café and Yabu. Manila Hotel’s Champagne Room will also open at the Sky Park.
The Supermarket, according to a few guests of the mall’s opening, is a must-see. SM introduced a new urban market concept designed by New York-based retail design firm Point Design, Inc. Found at the lower ground floor of the mall, the supermarket boasts of a “gourmet market” look.
SM Aura Premier is located along McKinley Parkway and C5 Road cor. 26th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. -- Camille Erika R. Sarte