PHOTOS: I visited Funan on its first day of reopening – and it’s completely unlike any other mall in Singapore right now

The queue to get in to Funan at around 10:45am on June 28, 45 mins before the mall officially opened its doors.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

There are a lot of high hopes for Funan.

Formerly known as the Funan DigitaLife Mall, the 34-year-old Funan brand is known by Singaporeans as the go-to place for tech and IT products. So it’s no surprise that anticipation was at an all-time-high on Friday (June 28) morning, just before Funan reopened its doors after a three-year revamp that included the expansion of its space by 1.8 times to 889,000 sq ft.

I had the opportunity to walk the entire retail building from roof to basement to see what was in store for Singapore’s eager shoppers and tech aficionados, and found a wide variety of offerings covering different segments of the consumer market.

Not only that. For the first time in a long time, I felt that Funan did actually have an edge – and not just technologically – over most other malls in Singapore today.

Here are some of the highlights from my tour around the building.


To start off, Funan’s revamp was definitely a change for the better.

The building has been given a fresh new look, with a brand new logo. At one of its entrances on North Bridge Road, there is a kinetic wall that tells the time.

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You may have seen something similar at Changi Airport, but Funan’s is a lot larger and will be used for multimedia art presentations by the mall.

This is the mall’s other entrance near North Bridge Road. Here, cyclists can enter and bring their bikes with them – but they must dismount and not ride the bikes after 10 am as that’s when the shops open for business.

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Cyclists can, however, ride their bikes through the first floor of the mall from 7am to 10am, as long as they travel at no more than 10km/hour and stick to the cycling lanes marked out on the ground.

Not something that’s readily available in other malls in town.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Cyclists who want to park at Funan can use the mall’s Bicycle Hub, which will also give them access to shower rooms (because it’s sunny Singapore).

All you have to do is to download the CapitaStar app for access.

Funan’s Bicycle Hub has shower rooms for cyclists to cool down.
CapitaLand

Even the carpark at Funan is more high-tech. Out of 400 available public lots, 36 can be reserved via the CapitaStar app.

Drivers are guided to their allocated lots by a video-based smart carparking facility when they arrive.

The screens will even show your license plate number.
CapitaLand

This is the sight that greets you when you first enter the mall. The first thing you’ll notice is probably the huge sign that says “I <3 art” –  not something you would see in the former Funan DigitaLife Mall.

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You’ll also notice the mall’s steel Tree of Life, which extends from Basement 2 to the fourth storey.

Funan’s famous “Tree of Life” is made up of shop spaces which can be rented out for short-term use.
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There are 20 retail “pods” on the Tree, which takes centrestage at Funan. These pods can be used for workshops and pop-up stores.

There are steps going down the Tree that allow you to explore the pods at your own time.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

At the foot of the Tree is an indoor amphitheatre that can seat around 150 people.

It is made of natural timber and lined with artificial turf, but there are also video walls that act as its pillars and lighting on the seats that can be programmed to display specific messages.

There are 33 steps in total.
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Funan’s directory panels are super high-tech, and will use facial recognition to suggest shops and places within the mall that is more suited to your profile.

It will also allow you to create wishlists, which you can access from the CapitaStar app.

CapitaLand

One of the most eye-catching features planted in the middle of the mall is the Climb Central rock climbing wall.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Some brands are taking the opportunity to provide more techy experiences.

This smart piano at Cristofori Music is apparently a world’s first. Developed in China, the digitised instrument can give piano lessons aimed at learners of all stages and ages. For example, there are children’s games and lessons as well as instructional videos from some of China’s celebrity pianists.

The smart piano also has a database of over 1,000 scores, and allows the user to download scores of their own too. If you like, there is even a sing-along function for those who like to play and sing at the same time.

Singapore is the second market outside of Shanghai to get the iNSPIRE by Pearl River Piano.

It costs a whopping S$17,500, but a representative said an opening special from June 28 to 30 will cut the price by S$2,500.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Cinema provider Golden Village (GV) is also making sure it’s up-to-speed in tech-enabled consumer experiences.

The cinema is located on the fifth storey.
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At Funan’s Golden Village, there are four virtual reality (VR) pods that come with a range of games and cinema experiences. While anyone can put on the VR goggles for a 3-minute trial, cinema-goers can enjoy a 15-minute session with each ticket purchased.

One movie ticket gives you 15mins of play time.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Food court operator Kopitiam has also jumped on the bandwagon to offer a new food court experience named Kopitech.

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There are unique bicycle-themed standing tables for those who just want a quick bite.

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If you’re an audiophile, you’ll be excited to know that Japanese brand Audio-Technica has a standalone at Funan.

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At opening, there were a total of 10 tech and electronic stores in Funan from Nikon Experience Hub to Courts.

If you only have time for one, try checking out Courts’ first IoT-themed store.

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Measuring over 12,000 square feet, Courts at Funan is home to the largest Samsung Smart Home retail concept in Singapore and Google’s first experience zone in Southeast Asia and Singapore.

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At the launch, I was also greeted by Courts’ in-store robot assistant GT Assiststar.

It was cuter than I imagined.
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And since too much screen time is bad for you, I recommend going up to the Urban Farm on the rooftop for some fresh air.

Do note that if you don’t want to take the stairs, the only lift that goes to the rooftop is at Lobby A.

Outdoor steps that lead up to the rooftop farm.
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The roof garden faces the disc-shaped structure of the Supreme Court, which is quite a cool sight to behold.

The 5,000 sq ft Urban Farm is operated by Edible Garden City. Pesticide-free herbs, spices, fruits (think dragon fruit and passion fruit) and vegetables (lady’s finger, brinjal) are grown here using both outdoor soil-based methods and indoor farming techniques.

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There are swings for people to sit on and enjoy the breeze in – if they’re not afraid of the scorching sun.

There are more than enough swings for those who want to relax a little.
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An artificial grass futsal court on this level also means shoppers can play some ball. Operated by The Ark, 10 players can take part each time at the unmanned facility.

To book the court, you will need to use the CapiStar app.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Walking through the entire Funan is quite a challenge if you’re not normally very active. So it helps to find F&B outlets scattered across the levels.

Taiwanese bubble tea brand Milksha’s second Singapore outlet opens at Funan on June 29.

Tip: They’re known for their taro drink.
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Recognise the dragon playground on the drink sleeve?

Milksha, which previously made drink sleeves featuring the Marina Bay Sands building, is launching the playground design exclusively at its Funan store.

For a limited time, Milksha will also give customers who buy four cups of drinks a tumbler.
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One of Japan’s most famous ramen shops has also set up shop at Funan.

Afuri, which is based in Ebisu, Tokyo, is located on Basement 2 of the shopping mall.

Afuri is a favourite among Tokyo’s urbanites.
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The shop is famous for its Yuzu-flavoured ramen broths and charcoal grilled chashu (pork belly slices).

A bowl of ramen or tsukemen at the Singapore store will cost S$15.90.

Expect queues.
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Funan also houses a wide variety of fashion names from homegrown brands such as Love, Bonito…

The fashion brand started as a blogshop and now has stores in 313@Somerset, Jem and Funan.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

…to international accessory brands such as Herschel Supply Co…

These Basquait Collection bags are exclusive to Herschel stores and can’t be found at stockists or online stores.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

…and Dr Martens boots.

These three boots – Tartan, Gomez and Caspian – are exclusive to the Dr Martens store at Funan.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Coming soon

Funan said at the media preview that it is aiming to launch a robotic click-and-collect service in the later part of the year.

The feature will allow users to collect items that they have bought with the help of a robotic arm.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

Also yet to be launched is Lyf by Ascott, which is slated to open in October this year. The “co-living” brand is targeted at tech savvy millennials who want to socialise over games and activities with other guests.

The Lyf experience is of course tech-centred as well, requiring guests to check in using a Lyf mobile app. The same app will then act as the guest’s room key.

Business Insider/Jessica Lin

There will be a number of social spaces at Singapore’s first Lyf, but one of the most interesting concepts is a claw catcher machine in the “Wash and Hang” laundry room.

Lyf will also have co-working lounges and a “social kitchen” when it opens.
Business Insider/Jessica Lin

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