OTL Helps Retail Stakeholders Captivate Guests With Artistic and Cultural Water Features

Posted in Insights -

Today’s retail owners and developers are becoming increasingly collaborative with city stakeholders and artists in an effort to create retail destinations that are more beautiful, more impactful, and more powerful – ultimately attracting more guests, encouraging higher lengths of stay and increasing overall ROI.

One key strategy in this fusion of efforts is the strategic use of art and cultural centerpieces to establish and enhance retail destinations.

By integrating sculptures, murals, and other creative works into the retail environment, developers can transform an ordinary shopping trip into a special and memorable experience.

As shopping centers expand their role as central gathering spaces, integrating art and culture as placemaking tools will become an increasingly important strategy for retail stakeholders.

The following photos demonstrate how OTL has helped its retail clients achieve the right mix of art and culture in their shopping centers by designing and building spectacular water features that attract more visitors and result in a stronger bottom line.


Hillsdale Shopping

  1. Hillsdale Shopping Center – In California, the City of San Mateo has a requirement that public art be incorporated into any commercial project valued at $3 million or more. At Hillsdale Shopping Center, a newly expanded retail destination in San Mateo, OTL and landscape architects Lifescapes International helped the developers meet this requirement by designing, constructing and installing a spectacular choreographed musical show fountain in the center’s main plaza. The showpiece is distinctly different from other dancing show fountains OTL has constructed, owing to the fountain basin, water jets, and color-changing lighting being woven into a tapestry of planters and foliage. Gathering and seating areas created around the fountain invite guests to sit and gaze at the water feature or walk around it to experience the installation from a variety of viewpoints, as if it were an art piece in a gallery.


  1. The Collection at RiverPark – For this outdoor lifestyle center in Oxnard, California, OTL designed and constructed two water features that incorporate art pieces by two Southern California-based sculptors. Mermaids sculpted by Peter Shire, features a series of stainless-steel mermaid weathervanes twisting in the breeze and catching the light, while Coastal Conversation, sculpted by Susan Stinsmuehlen-Amend, features a school of steelhead trout leaping from a fishing net floated by blue-green spheres enclosed and submerged in water. Both pieces capture the marine vibe of this California market as seen through the eyes of local artists.


2nd & PCH

  1. 2nd & PCH – For this upscale retail center in Long Beach, California, OTL designed and built a magnificent 22-foot-diameter fountain, crowned by a spherical sculpture selected by the project’s developer, created by artist Ivan McClean. The project’s landscape architect Diego Alessi, with AO Landscape, selected a bespoke mosaic tile – reminiscent of the colorful Mexican-inspired décor permeating the region – for the water feature’s exterior. The special finish perfectly complements and underscores the project’s sunny Southern California environment.


Jordan Downs Freedom Plaza

  1. Freedom Plaza at Jordan Downs – OTL’s Director of Creative Design Chris Roy worked with developer Primestor Development Inc. to source a variety of phrases, words, and images from community members which were turned into a series of artwork etched into seven large stone columns, collectively known as Instill. Local culture is truly at the heart of this new community gathering place in Watts, California.