The Dawn Of Marketecture - Can Social Design Save Retail?..

Posted on March 18, 2019 by Claire Mason

The future of retail dropped in New York this weekend in the imposing shape of Hudson Yards. Presided over by Thomas Heatherwick’s stunning “Vessel”, the worlds of architecture and marketing collide in this instagram-breaking rebirth of the shopping experience.

The $25 billion development boasts one million square feet of retail, food and culture built for social shared experience in person and online, with every square metre constructed as a photo opportunity.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York

A prime example of marketecture in action, the development harnesses the power of Heatherwick Studio’s escheresque climbable sculpture to take the opening of a new shopping centre to new levels of consumer and media engagement.

Two decades on from the start of my career, launching UK retail destination Bluewater’s “male creche” strategy for “parking” bored partners, the crowds were at capacity this weekend with a balanced gender demographic (I am assured the guys are here voluntarily) and even a few four-legged friends.

Can kill become cure for the future of physical retail? While online shopping may have won the first round against bricks and mortar, the troubled retail sector has come back fighting with this immersive social media playground. Worlds collide in Hudson Yards with the Floor of Discovery hosting purpose-built showcase stores for born-online brands who are finding online customer acquisition increasingly expensive. Could more agile and enlightened lease arrangements be the key to unlock a brighter future for retail real estate and the high street?

Fellow British export Heatherwick’s example of British American collaboration provided an inspiring start to Man Bites Dog’s week of meetings and keynote speeches in New York.

We saw a lot of fun and a lot of social engagement but not a lot of shopping bags. While the jury’s out - we’re in.  


Man Bites Dog is an award-winning thought leadership consultancy with global reach. Find out more at


+44 (0) 1273 716 820
[email protected]

Head Office
Moore House
13 Black Lion Street
United Kingdom

London Office
24/25 The Shard
32 London Bridge Street
United Kingdom

© 2005 - 2024 Man Bites Dog