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Creating a Lifestyle of Orchestrated Serendipity

Developing an experiential mixed-use project requires more than just impressive amenities


In the real estate industry, the term “mixed-use” is currently defined as “a type of urban development strategy for living spaces that blends residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or entertainment uses, where those functions are physically and functionally integrated, and that provides pedestrian connections.”

Current mixed-use developments find their stimulus with the original purpose and value found in a city—creating a sense of community, diversity, and convenience. Designers aim to address the issues that matter most to our clients: understanding the rise of the sharing economy, emergent technologies, and shifting generational expectations. With both the integration of experiential live-work-play components, and the need to foster an environment for memorable experiences, we take the opportunity to bring greater value to our clients and the communities they serve —a chance to “orchestrate serendipity.”

It is not by chance that we attribute positive memories and transformative experiences to particular places we have lived. As a full-service architectural design and planning firm, we emphasize the importance of creating these transformative communities through a collaborative approach. To achieve the meaningful experience that the ever-evolving consumer is seeking, we “future-proof” the design of today’s mixed-use projects, a term exceedingly popular in today’s hospitality market—a market we draw much inspiration from.

With experience in the mixed-use, multifamily, retail, and hospitality markets, we excel in cross-pollenating between the products, focusing heavily on this idea of “future-proofing,” and creating environments that will continue to satisfy evolving needs. To do this, it is imperative to utilize a mix of various components into our newest developments, such as the incorporating hotel-like amenities in multifamily and mixed-use properties.

Achieving personalization within these luxury offerings is key in today’s market and is best accomplished through open collaboration with developers, operators, and community stakeholders. Many of our mixed-use projects include a broad array of amenities, such as rooftop lounges, resort-style pools,and restaurants, catering to varying needs and the live-work-play lifestyle, attributing to community growth. It is equally important to maintain a clear sense of place, avoiding a generic model, and create authentic spaces that celebrate local communities and promote exploration.

To succeed in doing this, we approach these opportunities in collaboration with our clients to ensure an appropriate mix of amenities, seamless technology integration, and a kinesthetic approach to design to both complement and celebrate the respective local cities, communities, and cultures. The execution of “orchestrated serendipity” can be the make-or- break moment in properties looking to thrive in the increasingly competitive market. As technology continues to advance to improve the experience from start to finish, we face mounting pressure to “future-proof” properties to create unique experiences that speak authentically to each local community.

Engaging the surrounding area plays a role in attracting the modern consumer. To be in a walkable, transit-oriented, aesthetically pleasing, and activity-filled environment is of equal importance today as what amenities and services are being offered. An exciting surrounding area and sense of community contributes to the overarching feeling of meaningful experience for many people, further validating the approach of “orchestrated serendipity.”

Through collaboration with all relevant stakeholders, we see the ongoing challenge and respective opportunity to utilize our expertise in the creation of mixed-use properties and add value to existing communities—monetary and societal value that can be measured by the increase of community members, as well as value created through serendipitous environments and transformative experiences.

Benjamin Cien is the Associate Partner, a Studio Director and does Business Development at Newman Garrison + Partners. For more information please visit www.nggpartners.com.