The design, inspired by the mudflats the town was built on, is part of Watermark WestQuay Southampton, masterplanned by ACME for developers Hammerson.
It will feature a water feature of around 33 fountains with water which ebbs and flows like a tide and which creates a mirror pool to reflect the historic town walls at certain times of day.
A swale system will harness water runoff through the landscape as well as establishing different habitat and improve local biodiversity. The planting will feature native species that thrive in wet and dry conditions.
Grant Associates will use the town walls and the new buildings of the development as a backdrop to the public space while the promenade’s shape has been created to take the form of mudflats and curving steps which link the lower promenade with the plaza also evoke images of lapping waves.
Project landscape architect James Clarke said: "Using simple construction techniques through bold geometric language of patterns and forms and giving particular thought to the way materials are used and implemented, we hope to create an exciting public space that conceptually references Southampton’s rich nautical past."
Director Andrew Grant said that Watermark’s dramatic setting provided a wonderful framework for the design.
Hammerson development manager Guy Wells said the design would both be unique to Southampton and have enduring appeal.