A visit to M&M’s World in the Mall of America is the ultimate in customized experience to delight your senses with the colorful characters we all know and love, the delicious smell of chocolate and seeing meticulously designed and built elements.
“By far, this has been the most fun I’ve had on a project,” says Tyler Schultz, project manager for M&M’s World in the Mall of America. “Every surface is curved as a visual representation of the chocolate candy, which presented a unique construction opportunity.” From the arched, brightly colored entrance into the M&M’S experience to the glazing throughout, including the glass envelope of the elevator shaft that keeps the customer connected to the animated elements of the space while moving between floors. The project required impressive coordination and schedule management.
An extraordinary element to the store is the iconic Wall of Chocolate, a bulk display of different colors and flavors where visitors can create a customized bag of M&M’s. Behind the scenes of the impressive visual display is a remarkable puzzle of structural metal, woodwork and candy dispensers.
“This is a focal element of the store experience. We wanted to get it right the first time so the client’s candy dispensers would slide right in,” says Schultz.
The challenge was in building a serpentine network of elements behind the clean display. According to Schultz, “If the measurements were off by the slightest amount or the bend off by a few degrees, we knew we would run into a problem.”
Building the bending and interlocking components of the candy wall came down to layering different essential materials. Once one construction component was installed, the next component was templated off the previous measurements. This approach eliminated any misreading or misinterpretation of the construction documents. The crowning achievement in the wall construction was inserting the owner-supplied candy dispensers.
“We had taken such care with coordination, we knew the dispensers would fit perfectly, but there was still that moment we held our breath in anticipation,” says Shultz. “There were smiles all around when we finished that installation without a hitch.”
The interactive 24,000 square-foot space encompasses three floors connected by escalators and a glass-enclosed elevator. The escalators were relocated to go with the flow of the M&M’S experience and connect to the different sections of the retail space. The glass elevator was an added feature to the space and takes customers up to the third floor, dubbed the Rooftop Experience. PCL added structural steel to reinforce the floor of the previously unused space to make it safe for customers. The reinforced floor gives the client flexibility to expand the use of the space as their needs grow and change.
“Seeing the space come to life with the colors, the cool interactive displays and nod to our Midwest culture made this project very rewarding,” says Schultz. “Our goal was to give the client what they wanted. I’m proud to say that we built something that people enjoy and taking my family to the grand opening was such a memorable experience for all of us.”