Welcome to the all-new Toppen #JelesEK Fest

It’s early on Nov 13 – way ahead of mall opening hours – when I arrive at Toppen Shopping Centre to witness the official opening of this 1.25 million square foot meeting place anchored by IKEA Tebrau, the only IKEA store outside of the Klang Valley.

Toppen Shopping Centre is officially opened on Nov 13!
I’m excited that Toppen is opening as a new destination in Johor Baru, designed to be more than just a shopping centre but a community hub.

Dressed my dusky pink shirt, a shade reminiscent of the Toppen corporate colour to celebrate the occasion, I enter the carpark lobby and I’m escorted to the event area set up in the central concourse.

While the mall corridors are virtually empty, a large crowd is gathered at the concourse with many guests already seated in rows of chairs arranged in a semi-circle, facing the stage.

A giant pink coloured “T” in the Toppen corporate logo design is suspended above the concourse while similar “T” logos adorn the stage.

Early shoppers already exploring Toppen!
Following the Asian tradition for auspicious events, the clang of cymbals and the rhythm of Chinese drums pierce the air as a troop of prancing “lions” make their way to the stage to kick-start the opening ceremony.

The event continues with speeches by Managing Director of IKEA Southeast Asia, Christian Roejkjaer, the Swedish Ambassador to Malaysia, His Excellency Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt and Deputy Director of Johor Baru City Council, Ir Hajjah Nazatul Shima Mohamad.

“When we had a vision to create Toppen, we knew that it cannot be just another shopping centre. We wanted to create a meeting place that can contribute positively to the surrounding neighbourhood,” said Roejkjaer.

Toppen is anchored to IKEA Tebrau with direct access
through the shopping centre
“We built Toppen with the community’s interest in mind. With the help of local authorities and local groups, we have all put in a conscious effort in celebrating what makes Johor unique.

We are proud to house both local and international brands, while creating a hub where home-grown Johorean talents and communities can come together to share and create,” he added.

From Nov 13 to 24, Toppen will celebrate its opening with #JelesEK Festival, a campaign that pays homage to iconic Johor traits.

The shopping centre will host fun-filled and family-friendly activities in art workshops, yoga for kids, face-painting and family Zumba exercise sessions.

A rooftop landscaped garden at The Topp
In addition to workshops and competitions organized by local skateboard, parkour and dance groups, visitors can enjoy game booths, food stalls, fashion corners and other exciting activities.

A key highlight of this festival is a live performance of the #JelesEK* anthem on Nov 16, by talented Johorean stars, Joe Flizzow and Joyce Chu, who created a special music video for Toppen.

During his speech, Roejkjaer received loud applause for his valiant attempt in quoting a few lines from the #JelesEK rap!

*JelesEK is a Johor Malay colloquial expression that simply means, “Don’t be jealous, come join in the fun!

Roejkjaer also thanked the various local authorities, the construction team, business partners and the Toppen team for their support and performance that exceeded expectations.

Rooftop rock-climbing activities at The Topp
He commended them for their joint effort and commitment to the project that completed the four-level shopping centre ahead of schedule to provide shoppers with retailtainment experiences.

It is indeed a proud achievement for Toppen with 90% of its 300 shops opening on the same day. These include brands like Ben’s the Independent Grocer (B.I.G) and TGV Cinemas.

The building layout for Toppen was inspired by its Scandinavian roots that features spacious and clean designs with lots of natural light and greenery to create an enjoyable place to spend a day.

The crown jewel of Toppen is its rooftop, aptly named The Topp.

A collection of cafes and restaurants at The Topp
This level is designed for community activities with interactive outdoor spaces, a multi-purpose court, and event piazza, a rooftop garden, kids’ water-play area, and e-sports arena and region’s first permanent outdoor cinema.

Later in a conducted tour of the shopping centre, I discover that separate escalators will lead to different sections of The Topp.

One section features an Active Zone with a skate park, parkour zone and wall-climbing activities.

Next to the kid’s play area, there is a collection of cafes and restaurants along with food carts that serve range of local and international food for casual dining.

Benches to sit in the coach and games to play on the floor!
When we return to the indoor section of the shopping centre, it looks remarkably different (from earlier) as more shops are opened for business and throngs of shoppers are walking through the corridors.

My eyes are roaming about, eager to spot the brands opened here and I’m delighted to discover IKEA products set up in comfortable sitting areas – not just for show – but for shoppers to rest.

“Come in to discover a space for reflection,” reads a sign outside one of the special rest areas designed by IKEA for shoppers to retreat into to relax and reflect because the walls in this room is decorated with mirrors!

Art.Friend for all your art and craft needs
Throughout the shopping centre, groups of seats are provided for shoppers to stop and rest and along some corridors, little alcoves are built into the walls with seats…

Close to the food and beverage kiosks, there are benches for shoppers to sit down and place their food and drinks on space-saving tables that are attached to the side of the bench.

For the young ones and their guardians, there are benches designed within a coach to rest on and nearby, traditional games like Hopscotch and Snakes & Ladders are designed on the floor to let the youngsters have some fun.

I’m more than happy to discover two new brands that have opened their first outlet in JB – Fish & Co, a seafood restaurant and Art.Friend for a wide range art and craft supplies.

Plenty of sitting areas to stop and rest throughout
Toppen Shopping Centre
Meanwhile I spot amazing long queues at familiar brands like Season and Starbucks where shoppers cannot resist taking advantage of their special opening deals.

I’m sure there is so much more to discover when all the shops are opened in the coming weeks and I cannot wait to explore Toppen further in my next visit.

So what are you waiting for? Come along and join in the fun at Toppen especially during the #JelesEK Festival.

Toppen Shopping Centre at No. 33 Jalan Harmonium, Taman Desa Tebrau, 81100 Johor Baru. Opening hours from 10am to 10pm daily.

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