Things to look out for in the new Funan: an Urban Farm, VR pods at Golden Village, and Wild Rice's first theatre
A new era
Our Civic District has always been an area full of pioneering novelties in Singapore's consumerscape. But recognising, in true capitalist fashion that we have unlimited wants, who's to stop producers from providing? Last Friday marked the day that the overhauled Funan welcomed patrons for the first time – and indeed, if the long queues outside the mall prior to its doors first opening were any indication, it was clearly a launch highly anticipated by the masses.
Our own visit to the formerly tech-focused mall definitely proved that the place will no longer be an overlooked, under-construction site to pointedly ignore. From novel food concepts (of which we could never get enough) to more cinema outlets (but better versions), we hear that the new Funan mall is more impressive than ever before. Below, a lowdown of the coolest features of this shopping mall, and the highlights of our visit on its opening day.
It's not just a mall
The new Funan doesn't just have a completely revamped look (and a bigger space than last time, which means more shops) – but there are actually two office towers that use advanced facial recognition technology at the gates. Plus, the mall has a co-living hotel concept called lyf that houses a community-focused residence – imagine waking up and taking the lift straight down to have your pick of a multitude of food options for breakfast. Another standout thing about the mall's navigation? The directories littering its walkways have smart tech, that allows you to search for products and the stores to find them, as compared to shop locations that the average directory only offers. We love how organised it is (level B1 is where you'll find more F&B and services, level 1 has a big atrium space for events, level 2 features many fashion options, and level 3 is generally the tech floor); but with all the novelties to discover in the mall, we wouldn't mind getting lost in it every once in a while.
Staying true to its tech-forward roots
We all still remember what the old Funan was known for – (semi-sketchy) tech deals. The new Funan pays homage to that, but not in the dubious manner of its original form. Instead, making a tech purchase here now has evolved into a top-of-the-line experience well suited to the progressive concept of the whole mall. Courts, a returning CapitaLand brand, has a never-before-seen IoT (Internet of Things) themed store complete with the latest technologies (read: smart home devices, voice-control technology, robotics and, the talk of the tech town, artificial intelligence). If you're keen to experience next-level interactivity while browsing a store, a visit to this futuristic branch of Courts might be in order.
Have a taste of yuzu broths at Afuri Ramen
This internationally famous Japanese restaurant had patrons gasping in shock (and braving the long queues) upon its arrival in Funan. We stamp down on the naysayers who claim we already have too many ramen options in our tiny city (newsflash: it's never enough) – a must-have in any foodie's book, their yuzu-infused broth has been regaled to be a version of this noodle dish we cannot miss.
You can pay for your food with crypto currency at KopiTech
Yes, you heard that right. Kopitiam's new conceptual food court fully embraces smart payments and smooth ordering systems. You can order your food at one of the seventeen self-service kiosks within the vicinity of the food court, but sometimes you want to use your physical person to chope your seat (or maybe you've just been shopping too much and need to sit down). Their solution? A phone-enabled system where you place your order through Facebook Messenger. It seems there couldn't be a name more apt for this next-gen place than KopiTech.
A Dyson standalone store
We love all the inventions that consumer tech giant Dyson has come up with for our using pleasure, but it's their beauty products that really hit the mark for us. That's why a beauty-only concept store dedicated to their iconic Supersonic hair dryers and their visionary Airwrap styler (that doesn't use extreme heat to give you luscious curls!) sounds like a hair buff's heaven to us.
Another Golden Village – but with VR pods?
The beloved movie theatre adds another prime location to its repertoire of cinemas in Singapore, but the branch in Funan is even more special. In one of seven screens in the multiplex, movie lovers will get to enjoy two new seating concepts, Deluxe Plus and Gold Class Express, which both sound as luxurious as we have come to expect from a classic GV experience. Surprisingly, though, it's the foyer of GV Funan that we're most excited to witness; Virtual Reality pods are said to litter their front yard, making it possible for us to have entertaining waiting time (which we didn't know was possible) with the games and cinematic content these pods will offer.
Wild Rice theatre group has a new theatre and studio
A great revolutionary in the local performing arts scene, Wild Rice will call Funan home to its first theatre complex including studios and offices, where their storytelling will continue in a space they can now call their own. The main performance arena seats 358 theatre lovers who can be immersed in a hall inspired by the Royal Shakespeare Company's Swan Theatre.
Get physical at the TFX fitness centre
Shopping isn't the only workout to be found in the new forward-looking Funan. TFX, from Singapore's True Group, will open its flagship establishment featuring a swimming pool, an outdoor deck, and their signature vanguard training systems and equipment for members to access. Among other techniques and routines, their science-based programming curates workouts for people with all sorts of fitness goals – so no more putting yours on hold.
Singapore born-and-bred PPP Coffee
If there's one thing that might make or break the success of a mall, it's what coffee mavens lie within its borders. Lucky for Funan, their future looks prosperous – Papa Palheta, most known for the industrial-chic gourmet café Chye Seng Huat Hardware, will be founding an employee-owned PPP Coffee at Funan, which happens to be first venture of its kind in Singapore. With the success of their previous coffee roasts, we're highly anticipatory of the brews this new joint will offer.
Eat right out of the Urban Farm on Level 7
The farm-to-table concept is taken to the literal in this progressive mall, with operators from Edible Garden City enabling farmers to grow pesticide-free produce that form a part of in-house restaurants' sources of ingredients. Plus, right next to the Urban Farm is Spa Esprit's rooftop restaurant Noka – yet another first that will appear in Funan, we can expect Japanese cuisine where meals are always a culmination of both the farmers' and chefs' efforts.
107 North Bridge Rd
Opening hours: 10am-10pm