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Retail Continues to Evolve with Immersive Art Exhibits, a Gateway to the Metaverse


Earlier this year, landlords began filling their vacant retail spaces with interactive and immersive pop-up concepts. Probably the most known is the Van Gogh Exhibition, which opened several outlets around the U.S. just as retail re-emerged last summer. At the time, analysts speculated about the viability of these interactive exhibitions and whether or not they would draw consumers back to venues.

Coresight Research recently reported that avoidance of public places is down 26 percentage points compared to last year, an encouraging sign that consumer confidence is on the rise. That’s good news for landlords and tenants alike, especially as immersive exhibitions become a renewed source of revenue for vacant retail.

In the last year, we’ve seen a cluster of immersive pop-up concepts rolling out with success in other countries, making their way into U.S. suburban markets. And over the last few months, we’ve received requests by mixed-use art tenants to secure spaces in more potent site A locations — an ideal client for landlords looking to draw foot traffic to local corridors.

Where Art Meets Retail

The 360 degree Van Gogh Exhibition blends augmented reality with a light and sound show to assimilate the master painter’s creative process. The exhibition’s popularity has spawned several imitators, including Immersive Frida Kahlo, opening at SVN West in San Francisco this month. Culturespaces, renowned for its Atelier des Lumieres exhibits in Paris, banking on immersive experiences in the U.S., invested in restoring a 33,000 square foot location in lower Manhattan. In addition, the Hall des Lumieres will launch an immersive art tribute to Gustav Klimt. The experiential movement continues to evolve and has inspired other tech-centric, projection-based exhibits like teamLab’s Continuity event that introduces audiences to three-dimensional floral and fauna that influence East Asian art.

“We have partnered with the Van Gogh Exhibition on their expansion plan with several new locations in the works, including three in New York state, one in New Orleans, and another in Raleigh, NC. Their retail conversion and design are transformative, adapting the venue to create an incredible experience that educates and entertains,” shares Zach Nathans, Director of Retail Services, Colliers New York.

The Future is Close

The sensory experience of these exhibits could be a beginner’s manual to navigating the metaverse landscape. Imagine marveling at a projection of The Kiss on a wall and then entering an extended reality platform where you are the characters in the art. It’s a bit premature to consider virtual harmony across realities. However, some forward-thinking NFT collectors established The Museum of Crypto Art (MoCA), the Metaverse’s first VR art gallery, so who knows what the future may hold.

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Anjee Solanki

National Director, Retail Services & Practice Groups

San Francisco


In Anjee’s current role, as National Retail Director for the USA, she has developed strong relationships and strategic leadership to over 500 + retail professional nationally across 140 markets within Colliers for Investment Sales, Agency, Retailer Rep, and Retail Asset & Property Management.

Anjee Solanki brings 30 years of focused retail real estate experience to Colliers International.  She provides strategic retail advisory services to enhance value for her clients with her expertise in lifestyle, community, power center, neighborhood, mixed-use retail/residential, and resort retail. 

She has developed and manages strong working relationships with institutional and private clients such as State of Florida, State of Michigan, Heitman, Invesco, Grosvenor Americas, American Realty Advisors, TH Realty, PNC, and Zurich to name a few.

Her strategy identifies current market and property inefficiencies to capture untapped value through asset repositioning, releasing, redevelopment, rehabilitation, proactive management, and enhanced marketing. 

Creative problem-solving is her specialty, and she becomes a key stakeholder with national and international retailers, such as JPMC, Opry City Stage/Ole Red and Tim Hortons, and many others. Her highly focused approach reduces the risk profile and provides clients with a thoughtful approach executing strategic multi-year planning initiatives. 


Previously, Anjee served as Executive Vice President, Retail Services for Madison Marquette. She successfully assisted with repositioning community centers to lifestyle projects and identified opportunities to create value, resulting in higher returns for her clients. She also provided strategic analysis on complex redevelopment projects to address both the asset’s financial stabilization and/or the client’s exit strategy


Anjee continues to be an insatiable collector of all things retail. She’s a student of culture living next door to future shoppers, whose fleeting trends constantly change the retail landscape … driving retailers, landlords and developers crazy! Read her Blog at: 


Anjee is originally from Southern California and currently resides in San Francisco.  She is active in the Rincon Hill neighborhood residential improvement group, which participates in the public review of the highly anticipated Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco.

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