Is your lobby or public space lacking the “oomph” it needs to attract and retain visitors (or customers)? At Canal City in Hakata, Japan, shoppers are drawn in by something more amazing than funny, a fascinating animated water fountain.

Canal City (named for the artificial canal that runs through the hundreds of shops, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, game centers, a theater, and even two hotels) boasts of being a city within a city. It’s also the largest, privately developed project in Japan’s history.

From the developer’s Web site:

Canal City Hakata used water and nature to establish a unique destination for the city. The project’s mix of uses also created a commercial success. In the first year, more than 16 million people visited, sales exceeded $500 million, the cinema captured 55% of the city’s box office sales, and the theater sold out every performance.

Success carried outside too. The neighboring, historic shopping arcade reversed years of decline thanks to increased foot traffic. Cinema attendance citywide rose 50%. And Fukuoka was dubbed AsiaWeek’s “Best City in Asia” in 1997.

So move over, dancing fountains of the Bellagio, there’s another water wonder in the world.


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