One of the ways to find inspiration for your retail design is to look what others are doing. This can inspire you with what works and just as importantly, what can work for you.
Paris Retail Week’s partner, the British Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA) takes you on a tour to London to take a look at some of the latest greatest store designs gracing the British capital’s high streets. Follow the guide!
We begin our reviews in the heart of the British capital where we visit a fashion icon that has achieved longevity through defining the modern woman’s urban lifestyle. The popular fashion brand has now embarked upon a major overhaul of its range and also launched a new concept for its retail chain. The flagship store located opposite the Oxford Circus Tube exit on Argyll Street is the vision of the future for this popular brand.
Warehouse is back with a vengeance. The store may be small at 251 square metres but it sure has attitude – as do the clothes themselves. This is an entirely new look for the retailer and it is entirely cool.From the outside the window display mannequins set the scene, overhead light boxes bring drama into the moody interior and a large digital screen can be glimpsed at the back of the store – its moving imagery draws you in.
Designed by CK this magnificent environment is well finished with a very polished execution. The design strives to bring the city inside the store and the result is utterly convincing. Concrete floors underfoot, brick walls either side and a narrow strip of skyline overhead all combine with industrial style shopfittings to create an urban look, giving this midmarket brand high end appeal.
From the moment you enter the store the impact hits you. It’s well laid out, well thought out and all the components are well made. The store is easy to navigate; the clothes rails and display units on the ground floor lead you to the staircase at the rear of the store; straight yellow lines on the floor also aid your path. Galvanised roller shutters enhance the industrial feel. Minus the ‘cool’ clothing you could easily be in a converted New York warehouse or similar, the design is so convincing.
The designers have gone to great lengths to ensure that all the materials surface treatments select ted originated from industrial and warehouse usage. They have been incorporated into the store in an innovative way. Polycarbonate sheets that are set against a timber structure and illuminated from within, line the building facade that sits along the staircase. These same materials are used to create distinctive visual merchandising devices throughout the store. Static, galvanised roller shutters sit in front of white light boxes that line the walls at multiple intervals and flood bright light into the store. The colour palette also conveys a sense of the city; dark, grey and moody with bold, yellow highlights as used for street lines and bright blue sky as glimpsed above rows of towering office blocks.
The clothing rails, which are set on an angle to lead you to the staircase and the main sales area below ground, are of simple construction. Angular metal uprights and rails are painted yellow and sit on polycarbonate bases. Display tables, which showcase folded items and accessories, are crafted from bare timber. A simple, angular construction with narrow drawers presents a modern take on the old fashioned plan chest drawers. The staircase is also cast concrete with a glass balustrade. A simple metal rail is painted yellow and used as a handrail that extends the yellow line down to the lower ground sales floor.
As you descend the urban vibe intensifies. The ceiling bears down upon you and you are surrounded on all sides by angular metal racks and rails suspended from above. A strip of light on the ceiling cuts into the clothing displays below, carving out a path between them like narrow city streets – a digital image of birds flying moves across the light box. A row of clothing rails are positioned along the centre of the store and lead you around the key collections returning to the rear of the store below the staircase and the fitting rooms. This is a very sophisticated interior that launches a fresh face to a firm fashion favourite.
Joseph Cheaney & Sons
We now continue our tour in the centre of our bustling metropolis to review another cleverly crafted retail emporium. Covent Garden has long since held a reputation for attracting an eclectic mix of high end retail, particularly independents with a penchant for individuality and creative flair. Located just off the main Piazza, on fashionable Henrietta Street, our next recently launched retail creation has all these characteristics and more.
Here is a store that exudes brand heritage in an entirely contemporary fashion. Joseph Cheaney & Sons has an inherent quality and craftsmanship that spans more than a century and is often lacking in much of our modern culture. This high end retailer has been designing and manufacturing every element of its shoes and boots from its factory in Northamptonshire since 1886. Whilst it has undergone numerous changes to stay afloat during a difficult history encompassing two world wars, it has remained true to its business ethos. The new store might be small but it is a perfect example of a great retail interior.
The striking black exterior aptly frames the stylish interior, which can be glimpsed through the windows of the beautifully restored, historic facade. Relatively little product lies between you and the inside; a sloping board displays two pairs of shoes alongside detailed drawings of the shoemakers tools to hint at the handmade product. If you’re lucky you’ll see the staff polishing and shining the footwear on the polishing station in the window that doubles as a display counter and adds an element of retail theatre. You are immediately drawn into the well designed and beautifully presented high end establishment.
Once inside a central display plinth appears to hover above the ground and footwear is neatly merchandised all around. Shoes are presented as exhibits to promote a gallery like feel where customers can experience the latest collections. Along the left perimeter wall another low display shelf rises up from the floor on legs so thin they are barely noticeable. The shelf also appears to float. Above it an angled board displays a limited range of shoes interspersed with storyboards. Patterns are cut out of the board to reveal hand finished Cheaney leather and silhouettes of traditional boot making tools follow on the art based theme. On the right side of the store a two tiered display unit showcases further footwear and is positioned in front of a glass wall that hides the staircase to the stockroom below ground.
The lighting is of particular note; numerous pendant lights suspended from the ceiling in rows above the display tables and shelving create a dramatic effect. The shades are moulded leather and give a lovely warm glow. The main showroom has stark white walls, a white ceiling and a stripped wood floor, which is a complete contrast to the rear of the store. The entire area is painted a very dark blue, has very subtle lighting and has been carpeted in a deep blue. This is where the shoes are fitted. There is a leather sofa, an armchair, a coffee able, a lamp and an enormous, floor standing mirror. This is a very sultry and sophisticated section of the store. The sumptuous surroundings help to enhance your awareness of the premium nature of the product and help you part with your cash! Finally, a framed painting of the founder, Joseph Cheaney, is hung over the sofa to complete the look.
The latest statement store is the sixth for the small chain and will undoubtedly raise brand awareness within this distinctive corner of London’s eclectic retail market. Designed by CK the store is the epitome of excellence for the prestigious British brand.
Remaining in the heart of London we seek out another popular brand that has captivated the public with its innovative products for decades. Only a couple of minutes walk west from Argyll Street and you arrive on one of thie most famous shopping streets in the world. Regent Street is where this leading technology giant opened its first European retail store in 2004. It’s incredible to think how prevalent this brand has become particularly since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. They now have nearly 500 stores in 20 countries.
Apple brand has become a part of our lives and popular culture. Sleek and sophisticated, consumers just adore them. Therefore, it is only fitting that the London flagship should be nothing less than awe inspiring and it is exactly that – a stunning environment in every sense of the word.
The store’s height is formidable – the full 7.2 metre double height space that you enter into from the busy street outside has been utilised in its entirety. The Grade II listed, historic facade has also been fully restored and preserved and allows daylight to flood in through its great, ornate arches. The ceiling has been clad in lighting panels to form the longest, luminous ceiling panel in the world. Not only does it emit a pure, even white light that lights up the entire, gargantuan interior, but it also has the capability to absorb ambient noise below. Cutting edge technology is never far away. The surrounding walls – from floor to ceiling on all sides – are clad in sandblasted stone, as are the two staircases on either side of the store at the rear. The balustrades are simply sublime. Seemingly carved into the stone wall behind, they have a smooth, curved and honed finish that is very tactile indeed. Both the walls and balustrade were created by a combination of handcraftsmanship and CNC robotics! Once again, state of the art technology is at the root.
However, the pièce de résistance are the trees. Twelve fully grown Ficus Alis in giant planters are placed at the very heart of the store creating a haven of peace and tranquillity and there is circular seating for customers to relax and unwind. Lined up on either side, in an orderly fashion and together with the surrounding, natural environs, they achieve the effect of an Italian piazza or Spanish plaza. How clever of Apple to bring the lure of the open air instore, where better to get to know the world’s favourite brand?
At first glance it’s easy to miss the product – this is an experience based environment and everywhere you look people are heads down focused on a screen of some sort, or in deep conversation with a sales assistant. Yet, as with the overall store design the product is clearly and neatly presented. In the centre of the square many large, wooden, bespoke display tables showcase awide range of Apple products, whilst on the outer side of the avenue a plethora of Apple accessories and product line the signature wall display units and are waiting to be tried out.
At the rear of the store is the Forum, an area where experts from various fields can come to entertain, inspire and teach. It has been given a prime location in the centre of the square and behind it is the most formidable feature; a vast video wall of crystal clarity that somehow manages to compliment the environment rather than distract. It provides an animated backdrop for the entire store and is a reminder of just how ingenious Apple is. Finally, overlooking this, the mezzanine hosts the Geniuses, an area where visitors can get help and assistance with their devices and the Boardroom, a place for meetings, conversations and partnerships. It is an impressive view from the mezzanine looking through the store to Regent Street beyond. An incredibly thick glass balustrade separates you from the sales floor many metres below.
You can’t fail to be impressed by the sheer beauty of this interior. Its simplicity and subtlety exude quality and craftsmanship that convey the very essence of the brand. It is a very hard act to follow.
We head to Westfield Stratford to cover another retailer aimed at millennial women that has just launched a dynamic debut store at this prestigious retail development. Much the same as Models Own in Leeds, this successful online fashion brand has also broken all the rules of conventional high street retailing and created a fashion playground for its faithful followers here in London.
With he help of designers, Dalziel & Pow, Missguided has achieved a seamless transition from online to offline, where fashion addicts can get their fix. The new flagship has massive mall presence. It’s full of theatre and fun and everything about this store refers back to its online roots. The tiered, somewhat chaotic layout, the constant references to online terminology – #, Instagram, social media and networking – even the lighting and quality of materials chosen all have an ephemeral quality that mirrors the fast moving, ever changing digital world.
The store design, which is based upon a TV studio, has numerous stage sets traversing it. With loud, thumping music and constantly changing digital imagery the vibe is electric. The ‘On Air’ concept, as it has been coined by the designers, encourages its audience to continue their online experience together, live instore.
From the outset the store is highly impressive. The double height, all glass store facade allows uninterrupted views into the exciting interior, where the party has started. Lights, music, mannequins, display props, signage and screens all vie for your attention and are multi-layered to evoke a deconstructed version of the Missguided website. Two, glossy, pink pillars that reach from the ground to the roof frame the enormous, three-dimensional, pink metallic Missguided logo that is hung in the centre above the store’s multiple entrance doors. The windows, full of mannequins striking a ‘ready to rock’ pose, are set against a backdrop of screens playing brand and campaign content, as well as graphic boards displaying multiple brand mission statements. There is no mistaking this retailer; its store perfectly replicates today’s youth culture’s serious lack of attention span.
Inside, the space unfolds as a series of individual lifestyle sets replicating the TV studio. The traditional shopping journey is disrupted and replaced with a more flexible format. A pink monster truck with mannequins shooting dollar bills takes centre stage as you enter the store and takes a great photo that can be instantly uploaded. A list of Missguided, as the brand named them, ‘Babe Commandments’ such as ‘Thou shalt be too glam to give a damn’ exudes its playful confidence. A line of mannequins walk across from the escalators to the mezzanine bridge overhead. Downstairs, a denim area inspired by the seven deadly sins features a mirrored ceiling, vivid neon lights and black marble flooring. On the mezzanine level above, a glamorous ‘Shoeniverse’ feature which entails a stunning installation of mirrored discs and lights, hung above a circular display unit and wrapped with ombre chain curtains takes centre stage. Further visual merchandising props are all around: unicorns, gold pineapples, flamingos, doughnuts and vending machines fill this extravagant environment.
The cash desk is also a key feature. On a scale and style similar to those found in Primark, the long, white counter is dominated by an equally long screen behind and a pink backdrop (including the surrounding ceiling and floor!), plus an enormous pink and white spotted dollar sign. In fact, there are a lot of pink highlights in this store – curtains, display units, carpeting, signage and graphics all add a touch of glamour and femininity to this hard core fashion store.
Another radical move in this revolutionary concept is the positioning of the changing rooms at the front of the store. Once again, it all stems back to the internet and our need to be permanently connected. The fitting rooms have been turned into a social networking area with comfy sofas dotted about to encourage groups of friends to spend time trying on new looks together. Surrounded by palm trees, fun style emojis, more tongue in cheek signage (like ‘Get naked’) and a swimming pool animation projected onto the ceiling, the area has been given the feel of a Miami Beach pool party. There is even a concierge to add to the VIP feel.
Misguided has created a haven of youth and exploration through its clever merchandising. The ‘on trend’ retailer has successfully launched itself within the bricks and mortar world and set new goals for aspiring fashion brands.
Heading north to an area of London that remains relatively unknown to the hoards of tourists that frequent our cosmopolitan capital lies a British bespoke tailoring brand. Nestling on Chiltern Street, this gentleman’s clothing retailer exudes British spirit, ingenuity and creativity. A wholly British tailor, who only uses British cloth to complete his suits.
This little known brand has big aspirations and is the perfect match to our previous luxury footwear retailer, Joseph Cheaney. Campaign Design, together with founder, Saville Row tailor Thomas Mahon, have created a fitting emporium for this exceptional retailer. Although young in business terms – English Cut was launched in 2001 – the brand carries a century’s weight of great British tailoring tradition and prides itself on delivering a bespoke collection
English Cut has chosen to retain its historic shop front and has added a touch of gilt in the details, including the signage, to convey an air of exclusivity. A single bust displays one of the jackets in the window, which is surrounded on all sides by abstract frames – a single item of clothing is suspended within each frame. It forms a nice visual merchandising touch that highlights the brand’s attention to detail.
Inside, the serious lack of shop floor dictates the design and it is very simple. On the left perimeter wall jackets and splendid shirts are hung within low, veneer-clad units. Much like a wardrobe, it adds to the personal touch. Accessories such as shirts, ties, shoes and belts are then folded and showcased on the top of these cabinets. Two further busts are hung from the ceiling on gold poles displaying key formal jackets with additional minimalist style shelving in-between, drawing your attention to co-ordinating attire. On the opposite side of the store a range of footwear is displayed on low level cabinets. The unit reaches to the ceiling with two gold poles and just has three equally spaced shelves above it; one to display an array of colourful ties, one to display a selection of shirts and the last to showcase leather holdalls and bags. A very narrow, freestanding display table is positioned in the centre leaving just enough room to shop the store.
At the rear a sunshine yellow, mirrored, acrylic screen grabs your attention and separates the cosy changing area. It creates a bold modern statement in this subdued, classy interior. The ceiling is white and retains the elaborate turn of the century cornicing and panelling. A very distinctive pendant light feature brings another contemporary twist to this traditional ensemble. The walls, which are clad with textured panelling, bring a subtle reference to the materials used in tailoring. The chevron flooring, whilst neutral in tone, also adds further layers of mercantile context.
Downstairs has an even more intimate feel; a blue, velvet curtain is used to mask off the changing area at the back of the store and a large cutting table showcases the various fabrics that are available. A tape measure is casually slung over a wall mounted garment rail that is also used to display sample jackets.
Everything in this retail outlet is measured and refined, balanced and co-ordinated. It is a perfect mix of modernity and tradition, which precisely mirrors the brand’s ethos. It is a very fine example of the power of the quality independent.
Save the date for the next Paris Retail Week show from 10 to 12 September 2018
For its 4th edition, Paris Retail Week, the biggest European trade event will take its full scope and will gather in Pavilion 1 of Paris expo Porte de Versailles the e-commerce sector, dedicated to solutions for e-retailers, ranging from digital marketing to logistics, and the Store / Equipmag sector, dedicated to physical commerce and distribution.
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Pour sa quatrième édition, Paris Retail Week, le plus grand événement retail européen de la rentrée prendra toute son envergure et réunira dans le Pavillion 1 de la Porte de Versailles le secteur E-Commerce, dédié aux solutions e-commerce, du digital marketing à la logistique et du secteur Store / Equipmag, dédié au commerce physique et à la distribution.
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