Text by Kelly Koh
Situated in the heart of Orchard Road, Lucky Plaza once dominated the retail scene, drawing large crowds and tourist shoppers. Over time, it evolved into a cultural centre for Filipinos in Singapore, hosting products and services that cater to migrants from the Philippines.
Lucky Plaza has a wide range of shops selling Filipino products, electronics, shoes and sports goods. The upper levels include bars, nightspots and doctor's premises. The mall is also a hub for the Filipino community in Singapore, which can be observed on Sundays in particular when Filipino domestic workers congregate in and around the vicinity for snacks.
There is a food court in the basement that sells cheap local fare. There are other food joints in the building, such as McDonald's, Jollibee, and the main branch of an Ayam Penyet chain. Shops that sell off-season perfume and cosmetics can be found on most floors. Lucky Plaza also houses beauty salons on the fourth floor that attract foreign tourists and flight crew due to the lower costs compared to prices of salons in the rest of the shopping district.
Lucky Plaza's success was due as much to the architect's — BEP Akitek Pte Ltd — concept of an open vertical 'bazaar' as to its central position in the middle of the Orchard Road tourist district.
The high value location prompted the idea of placing the traditional arcade 'on end' in the form of a series of stacked galleries, interconnected by escalators and glass lifts, around a high open space. These internal pedestrian streets are linked to those outside and a multi-storey carpark at the rear at several not too convenient points.
Two floors of shops are directly accessible from the street, pushing the visual and retail activity to the edge of the public walkway.