Father Christmas in his rowing boat at Puerto Venecia
Father Christmas in his rowing boat at Puerto Venecia

Major international success for Kingcombe Aquacare water features

The title of Best Retail and Leisure Park 2013 has been won by Puerto Venecia Zaragoza, the Spanish shopping village where Kingcombe Aquacare Ltd worked on the water features.

Puerto Venecia beat 3 other major new developments in Ukraine, Singapore and Russia to carry off the prize at MAPIC, the top international retail property show.

The lake at Puerto Venecia early one bright morning. Photo by Ben Garner.
The lake at Puerto Venecia early one bright morning. Photo by Ben Garner.

Since it opened just over a year ago, Puerto Venecia has had more than 16 million visitors. It’s the largest shopping and leisure centre in Europe.

John Colton, managing director of Kingcombe Aquacare, said: “Everyone at Kingcombe Aquacare feels very proud of the part we’ve played in the success of Puerto Venecia.”

The master plan for Puerto Venecia’s enticing landscape was drawn up by the Bath-based architects Macgregor Smith. The eponymous Mike Smith asked John Colton to help design and oversee the construction of the water features.

The main lake was built to Kingcombe’s design. “Doesn’t it look great!” Mike said, when he sent us some of the photographs accompanying this blog.

You won’t be surprised to read that… we agree!

The lake has become a shimmering symbol of the pleasures that can be enjoyed at Puerto Venecia; so much so that Father Christmas even gets out of his sleigh and, instead, rows a boat piled high with presents.

For the lake to have this kind of visual impact, and for people to want to use it, and to be around it, it’s essential to maintain the quality of the water. That’s why we designed and put in a re-circulation scheme, with water passing through planted regeneration zones. We also used Firestone EPDM membrane, which best suited the complex shapes and multiple penetrations involved around Puerto Venecia, and guaranteed the waterproof integrity of the features.

“The fact that the park has won this prestigious MAPIC award is a clear indication of the success of the water features within the overall landscape,” said John Colton.

There was much talk at MAPIC about the concept of ‘retailtainment’ – which means first of all attracting people to visit, then enhancing their experiences of shopping with a mix of leisure activities and positive feelings of happiness (so they actually spend money, rather than just buying everything online).

Macgregor Smith worked for British Land, and with the international architects L35 as ‘Place Making’ consultants and public realm designers. The aim was to give visitors to the streets, squares, parks, lakes and canals of Puerto Venecia a marvellous time.

The MAPIC award proves its ‘retailtainment’ success.

Puerto Venecia's lake with waterside seating and restaurant, as seen early one morning by Ben Garner
Puerto Venecia’s lake with waterside seating and restaurant, as seen early one morning by Ben Garner

Important note: Thanks to Puerto Venecia for the first of the photos accompanying this blog. The other two are by our very own Ben Garner.

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