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3 ways retail displays are up-staging window features
Window features are traditionally the iconic moments of theatre that catch attention and tempt buyers in store, or attempt to stick in the mind of viewers, resulting in a later online purchase. However the trend towards showpiece window displays has swayed towards a more product-focused, minimalistic approach.
With store windows’ focus fixed on products, that leaves room for showmanship in retail displays, creating memorable, shareable (in this digital age), experiences for customers.
We’ve identified some common themes & trends that retailers are implementing in-store:
Primark’s Madrid store was one of the most iconic projects we’ve worked on, creating an entire ceiling-worth of diamond shaped lights that greeted visitors to the store as they entered, with another visual dimension being added once visitors started walking around the store/travelling up the escalators. That project was completed in 2015, and now other retailers have seen the success of the 3rd ranked flagship in the world by Insider Trends, beginning to emulate this concept.
Lululemon’s store by Dalziel & Pow features two cleverly positioned lighting features. The first at ground level is neon-tube style lighting which directs attention towards the retail display due to its’ tiered height. It’s also cleverly used to highlight the design collaboration, and creates the basis of the display. Another neon-style lighting design hovers above the display, with linear tube lighting creating focus around the feature. Similar to the Primark lighting feature, because the linear lights are interspersed, their appearance changes as visitors walk around the store.
Karen Millen’s display is much more expansive than the dedicated feature Lululemon have created, however the way in which it integrated with the store design is brilliant. Large architectural-style lightboxes have been recessed into the ceiling, providing bright homogeneous light across the area. This serves two purposes: product illumination and feature lighting - solely down to its brightness. Brinkworth have cleverly matched the edge of the light boxes with an angled wall design, which subliminally creates zoning.
Retailers are putting the spotlight on domestic design features
The lines between retail display & interior design are becoming increasingly blurred. Whilst it has been a feature of luxury retail flagships for a long time, the trend of hyper-personalised shopping experiences is translating to the high street. Hermès London store has a clear focus on making the shopper comfortable in a seemingly home environment, with chairs and tables set out to copy an interior experience. This is particularly prevalent in the shelving design, with minimalist wooden shelves merchandised to replicate a home environment.
The shelving display in particular carries through to Clarks’ latest retail concept, showcased in their Russell Square showroom. Similar finishes to the wood creates a homely feel, and one which is much less commercial than current layouts. This trend was potentially picked up from Foster & Partners’ reimagination of Apple’s retail format, switching from the ultra-futuristic grey cladding to a softer, brighter experience.
Buying into the brand
With a wealth of choices and research at shoppers fingertips, retailers are attempting to communicate the values their brand stands for, in an effort to strike a chord with shoppers in-store. In their own words: ‘The space re-tells the story of ‘the art of the shoemaker’ through signatures that illuminate this process’. Particularly visible alongside product displays, iconography is used to depict the process of craftsmanship, suggesting all the shoes are handmade and therefore of high quality.
This focus on value of branding is also apparent in Harvey Nichols store update, with a range of ‘authentic’ materials being used in mid-floor units to depict creativity and quality. Virgile + Partners have expertly selected materials that convey the Harvey Nichols brand, with marble tops mixed with an ultra-modern lighting design above, and a seemingly untreated concrete floor creating an authentic experience.
Nikki Talbot, Unibox Creative Director commented:
“The recent trend of juxtaposing utilitarian, raw and relatively inexpensive materials with luxurious artisanal finishes such as marble & brass signifies a focus towards approachability from brands, making high-end fashion feel much more accessible than in previous years by creating an environment which feels more relatable to a wider audience.
Interior finishes are often used to send subtle signals to the consumer. Take Chelsea’s luxury bootmaker R.M. Williams as an example. Materials such as copper and leather have been used in the surroundings, which will age beautifully over time and create an authentic experience for the customer whilst reinforcing quality and craftsmanship, two key values of the R.M. Williams brand”