Today we are visiting Charleroi, Belgium to look back at the branding and interior design concept by Air in 2013 for the Rive Gauche Shopping Mall developed by IRET.

During the early years of the 21st century, Charleroi’s town centre was a place spiralling into degeneration due to failed big box, out of town retail schemes. As a result, the town centre became somewhat dilapidated. However, although it was a place experiencing some economic difficulties, the town was a site of geographical beauty. It was paved with cobbled streets, the River Sambre flowed through the town, it had beautiful historic buildings including the Listed World Heritage Site, Belfry, and was home to fine art, glass and photography museums to celebrate art and culture.

The aim for developer IRET was to build an elegant and contemporary shopping mall and new town square. Rive Gauche thus became a central part of the city’s urban regeneration.

The development was named “Rive Gauche” (Left bank) inspired by both the Parisian Rive Gauche and the developments location on the left bank of the River Sambre. Accents of Parisian chic ran through the brand identity’s sophisticated typography, photography, and hand-drawn illustrations, with a script logotype.

With our friends, DDS Architects, providing the striking architecture, our contemporary interior design concept also made subtle reference to the Left Bank’s visual heritage. Belgian blue paving and shop fronts with wooden frames referenced more classical architecture.

Following its opening, footfall to surrounding streets increased by over 50%, and local businesses were once again starting to thrive. Our interiors and branding helped make Rive Gauche one of Belgium’s most popular retail destinations, welcoming eight million people annually. The project went on to take home the Best Medium Sized Shopping Centre award at the prestigious ICSC awards and was a finalist for Best New Shopping Centre at Mapic 2017 and MIPIM 2018!