Senior VP and Managing Director, JERDE
Senior VP and Managing Director of China, JERDE Shareholder,
Global Board Director
AIA Founding member, ULI Topical Forum Co-Chair
Mark Liu joined JERDE in 2013 as Sr. VP, Director of Project Management, bringing with him more than 26 years of international design and build experience. Within his role at JERDE he implemented many important initiatives that improved the efficiency and quality of the firm’s services. In September of 2015 Liu was relocated to China to take over a new role as the Managing Director of JERDE’s China office.
Liu has made numerous critical contributions to the company, including building up both the office talent as well as the client base in China, which today has become the firm’s most successful market. He was made full partner in 2018 and has since been elected a Global Board Director. He is also a member of the international organizations, including AIA, TEA, IAAPA, CTBUH, Façade Technology and AmCham.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the design industry now?
As Jerde has been at the forefront of “Placemaking” for the past 40 years and the Brand has been synonymous with retail and entertainment related designs. We will focus on this sector.
Online shopping (Amazon, Alibaba, etc.) has undeniably challenged and impacted traditional brick-and-mortar retail centres. It is exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and has caused many underperforming retail centres to close permanently. This challenge can be studied two-fold. One is about renovation/reactivation/repurposing. The other is to rethink the future of brick-and-mortar retail centres. We will discuss the latter in its most fundamental form.
Retail design is not just about shopping. It involves designing for the psychology of the “shopper” or User, the Human.
So first, let’s consider the Strategies of the retail centre. “Attract, stay, spend, return, repeat”.
Most retail centres can achieve the “Attract”, at least for the first 6-12 months. An ample PR/Marketing budget can probably get you the “new destination” buzz.
“Stay” requires a well-integrated, welcoming design with leasing and operational strategies. The design gets to be complicated as it involves many stakeholders and serves many goals. This is the part where the Human comes to this location and the offerings give him or her a reason to stay.
Once you’ve got that right, then they may “Spend”.
Now you got past their first spend, you want them to “Return, Repeat”. And this is the hard part. Why would you return to the same place again? Why not just do the transaction online? We believe it is for the ‘Experience’. Experience is what makes the difference.
And this is where the opportunities lie.
We are in a period where we must rethink an entire brick-and-mortar industry, an entirely new movement is about to be born.
What did you most enjoy about the IDA judging process?
The IDA judging process gave me a chance to “take a mental vacation”, open my eyes once again, and see through “others’ minds’ eyes”. Try to understand what others see in this world other than designing just objects. I look for the deepest meaning in their designs.
What did you think about the quality of the entries in the IDA?
The quality of the entries was very good.
How much influence does your own personal taste influence your decisions in judging a design award?
My personal taste does influence my decision but the “story”/”deepest meaning” affects me most.
What advice would you give to future entrants?
Advice for future entrants: challenge yourself to think beyond the object.
What are you working on, what is in the pipeline for you for 2021?
We are working on several major Mixed-Use TOD projects in China, which seem to be the evolution of retail centres in dense regions. First is retail centres/malls, then add towers on top and become Mixed-use, then put all that development on top of the subway and you get a TOD. Most of our work involves Mix-used, experiential, and entertainment-based projects. Kind of like a potpourri of all our design philosophies into one development.