SINGAPORE: Changi Airport on Wednesday (Jun 7) gave a glimpse into a sprawling rooftop park featuring play attractions, gardens and walking trails at Jewel, its new retail and lifestyle development.
Located five floors above ground, the Canopy Park spans 14,000 sq m, or the size of 11 Olympic-size pools.
Visitors can walk and bounce on sky nets, challenge themselves at a mirror or hedge maze and play on slides. They can also walk on the 50m-long Canopy Bridge, which will have glass panel flooring to show the view below.
The sky nets attraction was customised specially for Jewel and is touted to be the first of its kind created on such a scale. The main highlight: The thrill of looking through the voids, suspended 25m above ground.
Located at the west end of the Canopy Park, the attraction is the work of designers Thomas Ferwagner from Germany and Cedric Chavaud from France.
Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, Mr Ferwagner said that the attraction is a unique integration of two nets. He stressed that the nets are safe.
“Safety is very important to us. All our installations follow norms for playgrounds, so there is no entrapment, there is no hurt, there are no sharp edges. Both nets will be certified by an independent laboratory,” he said.
The nets, which are expected to feel like hiking or bouncing among the trees, are strong enough to hold 1,000 people at once, Mr Ferwagner said, adding that they will appeal to children and adults.
“Sometimes you see adults walking more with their hands than with their feet because they are finding their balance. It’s a unique experience, and it is unforgettable,” Mr Ferwagner said.
MAZES, SLIDES SET TO AMAZE
The slides attraction, named Discovery Slides, is designed to be both an art sculpture and a playground. It features four slides, one at the main entrance, one which is inclined at 75 degrees, and another two that are spiral. The entire structure sits at an incline, 3m high on one end, and close to 7m on the other.
The hedge maze, which is typically seen in garden settings, has an additional element of fun and mystery through gates that can be pushed within that will change the path of the maze. The maze ends on an elevated watch tower.
“It’s mazes within mazes, hidden forbidden parts out of sight, hide-and-seek for children,” said its designer, Englishman Adrian Fisher, who has been building mazes for the past 35 years. But it was not without challenges.
“I’ve never built a maze in the sky before, 30m above the ground. One of the details was plants need to put their roots down, but in some places, there were beams, where we wanted to put the roots, so we had to solve the problem in different ways,” Mr Fisher said.
The other maze, a mirror maze, is unlike others, which is usually set in enclosed dark settings. The mirror maze sits under Jewel’s glass facade, with plants branching across the top of the maze. Mr Fisher said that the entire maze is a flexible structure that is able to withstand shock as it flexes if a visitor bumps into a mirror.
Heavy-duty mirrors were also chosen and mounted on foam backing. “If it is rigid, it would break,” he said. The mazes will be located on the eastern side of Canopy Park.
Other attractions at the Canopy Park include the Topiary Walk, with life-size animal-shaped topiaries, and a petal garden, which will feature seasonal horticultural displays.
The Canopy Plaza, where the food and beverage outlets will be located, will also have an events space big enough for 1,000 people.
The park will also have a play area for young children called Foggy Bowls. Children can play and roll in four mist-filled concave bowls with depths of between 30cm and 65cm,, which will seem like playing in the clouds.
The attractions were unveiled during a media briefing on Wednesday, three days after the airport released a sneak preview of Jewel through a video posted on its Facebook page.
The video showcased the development’s centrepiece attractions – the Forest Valley, Singapore’s largest indoor garden, and the Rain Vortex, a 40m-tall indoor waterfall featuring a light and sound show at night.
Slated to open in early 2019, Jewel will house about 300 shops and food and beverage outlets. Early check-in services will also be available at the complex.
Jewel is expected to attract more passengers in transit, said chief executive of Jewel Changi Airport Development Hung Jean.
"Increasingly, people are making travel itineraries on their own, and they are giving more time, when they make their transits or transfer stops," she said. Passengers then make a conscious choice over which airport to transit at, while considering which airport is most well-connected, promises a smooth journey, and offers the most facilities, she added.
Currently, 30 per cent of traffic at Changi Airport comes from passengers who are en route to another destination, the airport said.
Jewel, a S$1.75 billion project, will be directly connected to Terminal 1 and linked to the other two terminals via air-conditioned pedestrian bridges.