Ocean Terminal makeover inspired by ‘dazzle ships’ berthed at Leith during World War I

Images of Porta (the revamped Ocean Terminal)
Images of Porta (the revamped Ocean Terminal)
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Ocean Terminal will be “dazzled” with colour – as the shopping centre is set to be transformed into Porta.

Last year, owners Resolution Property announced that the Leith attraction will be re-branded as Porta.

Now, proposals have been submitted to city council planners for permission to refurbish the main entrances and outside facades of the building.

A propeller from the nearby Royal Yacht Britannia, which is currently on display inside the building, will also be moved to a new-look plaza outside the building as part of the overhaul.

The shopping centre, which currently welcomes more than 4.5 million visitors a year, will pay tribute to Leith’s naval connections with colourful additions in the refurbishment.

Fleets of “dazzle ships” were berthed in Leith Docks during both world wars.

A planning statement on behalf of the owners, states: “We have taken inspiration from the dazzle painting of ships. During the First World War, a number of prominent artists and architects were employed by the Royal Navy to paint their ships in a dazzle camouflage.

“These vibrant, geometric designs were not intended to hide the ships but were to break up their massing and make it difficult for their scale to be appreciated by enemy ships, thus making them more difficult to accurately target.”

If approved by the council, a new extension to the shopping centre’s entrance will be added – along with “improving the external appearance of the car parks”. A separate advertising consent application will be handed over by planners for permission to put up the updated “Porta” signage.

The planning documents add: “There is an opportunity to improve the existing entrances to transform the customer experience and present a stronger identity.

“Internally, de-cluttering these spaces and introducing active frontages would greatly enhance the customer experience.

“The new glazed entrance screen and automatic revolving doors will give the entrance a far simpler and more engaging arrival experience.”

Vertical “fins” will be added to the main entrance of the shopping centre, while the entrance will be extended out and a new glazed entrance screen will be created, which the developers say will “improve visibility and connection to the mall”.

Resolution Property attempted, without success, to off-load the shopping centre for a reported £57 million last May and the rebranded Porta is due to open in the third quarter of 2019.

The facelift is also being used to redirect customers to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which is berthed behind the shopping centre.

The developers added: “Two of the Royal Yacht Britannia’s propellers are currently located within the ground floor mall underneath the escalators.

“The proposal is to make these prominent features by relocating them outside to the entrance plaza, giving the Royal Yacht Britannia a greater public presence.”