Jewel Changi Airport is not fully open to the public yet, but the limited ‘public previews’ have already proven immensely popular. Officially open on 17 April, the new 10-storey space – adjacent to Changi’s Terminal 1 – costed a cool S$1.7bil (US$1.25bil) to develop and will be positioned as one of Singapore’s iconic attractions. It’s basically part mall, part garden, and part airport – all contained within a glass dome.
The bit everyone is talking about at the moment is the majestic 40m-HSBC Rain Vortex, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall which greets visitors at the entrance. Surrounding the waterfall are the manicured grounds of the Shiseido Forest Valley. From June onwards, other attractions will debut such as the Manulife Sky Nets, Hedge Maze, Mirror Maze, and Discovery Slides, all which were designed to blend into the indoor garden.
New-to-Singapore brands will open stores here including OYSHO, Pokémon Centre, and Emack & Bolio’s. Homegrown brands will take over Level 1 so that travellers can pick up a local souvenir on their way out of the country.
Other facilities and services include a supermarket, an 11-screen cinema, and a 130-room Yotelair hotel. Jewel will also house American fast food brand Shake Shack, the first in Southeast Asia. Because it’s also an aiport, aerly check-in counters and kiosks, a baggage storage service and the Changi Lounge, a 150-seat lounge with shower facilities, are available.
From May, the Changi Studio Experience will open on Level 4 where a ‘virtual world’ of Changi Airport will debut featuring interactive games, projection experiences, and gallery exhibits.
The main purpose of Jewel is to draw passengers from connecting flights who may not get a chance to explore Singapore. According to architect Moshe Safdie, “airports are places of anxiety”, and he would like people to be “uplifted and serene and feel good about themselves”.
Regardless of whether visitors will be made to feel 'serene', one thing is for certain: Changi is right on track to be crowned the world's best airport. Again.