Stores

Stores

April 16 2009



Influences of nearby Scandinavia are apparent in Crème de la Crème, a fragrance and beauty care boutique that opened late last year in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The boutique is one of about 170 shops and restaurants that occupy the new, award-winning Panorama shopping centre, one of the largest and most expensive shopping malls in the Baltic countries.



The store’s physical concept is by the Lithuanian Plazma architects and specifically architect Evelina Talandzeviciene.
 
Light-colour wood, scarce furnishings, simplified lines and subdued edges create a feeling of weightlessness and free-flowing space.



We especially like the shipping-crate look of the central counter and the plywood-esque walls. They lend an air of impermanence and industrial chic to the simple, sophisticated boutique that stocks such perfume brands as Comme des Garçons, Anrdèe Putman, Nasomatto, Mona di Orio, Annick Goutal, Juliette Has a Gun, Escentric Molecules, Miller Harris and Acqua di Parma.



Felt-covered Tom Dixon lamp shades and tone-on-tone floor and wall materials add to the organic ambiance of the space...reminding us of fields of rye, and forests of birch and fir.

Crisp lighting on the merchandise and simple wall units for display allow the fragrances to take up most of the air space. Unstuffy. Simple. Clean. - Tuija Seipell
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Stores

February 25 2009

Established by the Berneda family in 1939, Barcelona’s own sports shoe house Munich continues to stay on top of things. In the 1970s, Munich made tracks with the Made in Barcelona footwear line and the X logo.

The Munich flagship store was designed by Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd of dear design, a design and architectural firm the two established in Barcelona in 2005.

Dark-glass surfaces, mirrors, metal trees and cage-like boxes hanging from the ceiling (from which the shoes have “escaped”), all carry a carefree, experimental and impermanent air. The angular and clunky space with its hard edges and seemingly moving parts is clearly an attempt to say that the septuagenarian brand is nowhere near slowing down. - Tuija Seipell

Stores

February 20 2009



The second U.S. store (after N.Y.) of the Japanese brand BAPE has become a solid street-corner anchor at 8001 Melrose Avenue in L.A. With only a few flimsy palms outside, the eye-catching, BAPE signature camo print in juicy neon tubes strikes a commanding visual presence especially at night.



Inside, a huge glass cylinder, six meters in diameter, dominates the cool 4.5-meter-high space. Inside the cylinder, sneakers revolve on conveyer belts giving both an industrial and a museum-like feel. The oldest BAPE stores in Japan have already celebrated their first decade, but in Europe and the U.S., the brand has only recently started to gain a retail presence. In addition to Japan, BAPE stores exist in Hong Kong, Paris and London, and now two in the U.S.



The L.A. store was designed by Masamichi Katayama and his company Wonderwall. The 43-year-old Katayama is well known for retail work in Japan, France, U.K., the U.S., Russia, Hong Kong and China. - Tuija Seipell

Stores

February 13 2009




Lovely shoes and bags will literally be on pins and needles this Saturday, when the Kymyka shoes and bags boutique opens in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The beautiful store, established by Chantal Hermans and Jurgo Mouthaan, begins its life with an impressive line-up of brands, including Dolce & Cabbana, Etro, Stella McCartney, Dsquared, YSL, Giuseppe Zanotti, Luciano Padovan and Theory. Jimmy Choo will join the list soon, as will other brands.

Hermans and Muthaan chose well when they picked the industrious Maurice Mentjens to design their store. His work has been rewarded at many design competitions, including the Dutch Design Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007.



His design for the Stash bag shop won not just the Dutch Design Award in the Retail Category but also the German Design Award. Maurice Mentjens Design is engaged in a vast variety of project ranging from interior, exhibit, retail and hospitality design to product and furniture design. - Tuija Seipell

Related article - Shoo Biz - The World's Best

 

Stores

January 29 2009



Economic doom and gloom does have an upside. It has laid the foundations for a fertile new landscape of creativity and innovation. When the market gets tough brands have to work harder to keep their customers, they have to find more creative ways to engage them. Innovation becomes a must in the design process. It's a case of innovate or risk a likely death. Which is why we predict a rebirth of creativity across product design, marketing and retail design. This new era isn't about big dollars, it's about big ideas and originality. Expect the unexpected.



The Cool Hunter Platinum is working on a number of retail projects. We are looking for like-minded partners. Are you a designer or architect with innovative retail work? Have you seen a new store that you just can't forget? We want to hear from you too. Contact us .....[email protected] or [email protected]

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Stores

December 3 2008



VilaSofa, a furniture store that opened in Amsterdam in October is a clever design feat by Tjep. Judging by the VilaSofa website, it is a brand that can use some visual updating. VilaSofa is positioned somewhere between an IKEA store and a conventional furniture store and its claim to fame is reasonable prices and a guaranteed 48-hour delivery of all displayed models.
 
The Amsterdam-based Tjep faced the challenge of making all this look cool. It zeroed in on the warehouse concept but with a homey twist. It focused on the aspects of speed and the transitional nature of the place where factory-born furniture lives while waiting to be taken to your home.


 
Combining warehouse and home isn’t easy, but Tjep accomplished it by only suggesting both. They used warehousing and transportation symbols as the basis for gigantic cutouts and wall graphics, and created a white wall with cutouts of chandeliers, windows and ornate balconies that imply a villa and refer to your home as your castle. Staff rides around in cute cash-register trolleys so that customers don’t need to go to them.


 
The Tjep design team included company founders Frank Tjepkema and Janneke Hooymans, plus Leonie Janssen, Tina Stieger, Bertrand Gravier and Camille Cortet.
 
Tjep is a multiple-award winning firm that works in an astonishingly wide variety of three-dimensional design – Product and furniture design, interior design and interior architecture, identity design and events. Tjep clients include Droog, British Airways, ING, Restaurant Praq, Camper, Heineken and Ikea. Hooymans left Tjep in May 2008, and now works independently thisisjane.com. - Tuija Seipell.
 
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Stores

November 25 2008



Aesop continues to serve up award winning design with its new store in "The Strand Arcade" in Sydney. Each Aesop store has its own signature look defying the carbon copy stores that were so popular in the 90's and early 2000's. Respecting the store's neighbouring environment is important to Aesop and integration within the area is emphasised. March Studio's, Rodney Eggleston has again been offered the role to find the "store's soul" and bring it to life. He has made one of Aesop's highlight materials "Porcelain" the hero in this store by using the timeless, precious material for the tiles, small furnishings and floor.   



As always with Aesop, clean lines and only the necessary pieces of furniture and interiors are used allowing optimum space and movement. The complete range of skin, hair and body products are available in this store, so maximising the wall space was essential. The finishing results are a sublime gallery like offering that continues to push the retail boundaries. — Kate Vandermeer.

Stores

November 7 2008




We love great retail. We want to find it; we use it as therapy, as entertainment, as an escape, as fantasy. Yet great retail stores are much scarcer than mediocre stores. We all can list many stores that underwhelm us, yet we visit them daily. Mostly, because we must. Just think of your run-of-the mill grocery store, convenience store, drug store, gas station, department store, big box.

Even the newest “concept” versions of many brands are bland, boring and basic; designed for the retailer and its suppliers, not the consumer. They are designed and re-designed without challenging old retail “truths,” and so the result is the same old. 



We as consumers shop for two broad reasons: Either because we must, or because want to. We have resigned to the fact that when we shop for items we must buy – gasoline, medicine, food – the stores will not look great. And yet, we’d most likely prefer shopping at a gas station that isn’t scary, dirty, neon-lit and dull, or in a drug store that doesn’t look like a warehouse for the most powerful brands. Even in today’s multi-channel environment where consumers can stay at home and shop for necessities online, many retailers still assume that consumers don’t notice or care.



Mass-appeal stores –including gas stations, grocery, convenience and department stores – have a much wider target audience than a niche boutique, and the two groups’ challenges are different, but a consumer who shops for food does not suddenly forget his or her experience in a niche shop. The expectations, or at least the knowledge of a great experience goes everywhere with the consumer.



As business people, and as consumers, we know that retail today is more challenging and complicated than ever. Consumers shop less and demand more from each experience. They spend less and demand more value. In all categories and at all price levels, consumers look for value in the end, but value is not the same as cheap.

Value is defined by the consumer as: Is it really worth my time, attention, money? The joy, prestige and pleasure produced by a newly acquired tech-toy or pair of shoes – expensive as they may be – make them worth the price to the consumer. And if the shopping experience was awesome, we have something more to tell our friends.



Regardless of segment or even price, today’s power retail is all about authenticity, consistency and experience. Retailers must be nimble and adaptable, and evolve with consumers’ tastes and needs. Consumers can find everything online, so the in-store experience must give them something that is much, much better. Stores must be relevant, engaging, fresh. They must offer an emotional connection, interaction, excitement.



As long as our list of underwhelming stores may be, we all know some wonderful stores we’ve experienced. If you talk about your list of such favorites, most likely you will end up telling a story. It will be about the experience in the store: The way it looks, smells or feels. It will be about the staff behavior, the music, the selection, the philosophy, the brands, the changes, the activities. It has been a memorable experience in a good way. It has made an impression. You were — and are – emotionally engaged.



Whether the store is specialized in high-end fashion, cool skateboards, discount foods, knock-down furniture or exclusive art books, to the customer the overall honesty of the offering is what will bring us back. Will the components match? Is it all on the same page? Is it authentic? Can we trust them to deliver the same or more again? Today’s customer can spot an empty shell and a fake, fluffy concept easily, and when the novelty of such “concepts” wears off, the customer has no reason to return.



A retail store is not a concept, neither is it a brand. It is just one channel, one way of expressing whatever it is the consumer understands the promise to be, whatever the consumer feels the experience is going to add to his or her life. Branding, marketing, store design, merchandise selection, staff behavior, the windows, the change rooms, the website, the wrapping paper and bags, plus a million other details make up that promise, and every store visit either renews or shatters the trust.



Today, with word-of-mouth sped up by social media, bad news travels faster than ever. That can be a serious challenge, because a single bad experience can blow up and become headline news.



But good news travels faster than ever as well, and that poses another challenge to retailers. More often than not, the customer knows more about the brand, the products, and most important, the competition, than the staff. People do not need to travel the world to know about the latest, the newest, the coolest, and the best. Customers have seen more exciting stores, more creative marketing and more fun products than perhaps the typical store staff or even the managers. And if the customer is more enthusiastic and knowledgeable than the sales person, then the customer will not receive “knowledgeable service” no matter what the promotions promise.



Quoting directly from our “Power of the Box” post, we can refer to retail anthropologist Paco Underhill (author of Why we buy and Call of the mall ) and his studies and surveys on shelf impact, shopping behavior and consumer psychology. They all show that it matters what the box looks like, what it makes us feel – even when we say it doesn’t. A retail store is that box.



Also in the same post, we referred to Buyology – Truth and Lies about Why We Buy, a book by Martin Lindstrom who is now on Time magazine’s list of world’s 100 most influential people. Buyology covers the results of Lindstrom's $7-million study that attempted to figure out what really makes us vote with our wallets. The over-arching revelation – if it is indeed a revelation – is that, more often than not, we as consumers do not know why we buy. We do not know what actually affects us when we make a buying decision. But mostly it is about emotions.



When we encounter a fantastic retail store today – a store that we feel is worthy of our attention, time and money – we are really seeing a minor miracle and a major business feat. We should tell the world about it and we should demand more of it. Retailing is an extremely complicated and well-researched business, yet succeeding in it is still perhaps closer to magic than anything else. - Tuija Seipell



Knowing what’s hot is what The Cool Hunter is all about. The Cool Hunter Platinum team can help help give your new product or service the elusive C-factor — whether it’s a lifestyle product or techno-gadget, a new store or access to our little black book of collaborators to assemble the right team of creatives to realise the on-going vision of the brand.


 

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Stores

August 21 2008



Aesop continue to deliver outstanding, intelligent and considered design in not only their product but with their individual approach to each retail concept store they launch. Their latest offering in Zurich embodies this philosophy perfectly. Utilising a long, narrow space to advantage, the focal point of the store is located in the centre of the space allowing consumers to walk around and interact with the products which are located on a series of suspended shelves.  There’s a sense of weightlessness and room to breathe due to the fact that the shelves don’t make contact with the ground and only the necessary products and shelving is featured.  The repetition of the shelves seem to co-exist with ease but not at the peril of functionality. Using Aesop’s signature store sensibilities of incorporating water, merging modernity and recycled materials and not “over-designing” or adding unnecessary objects, this Zurich store is no exception.  — Kate Vandermeer.



 

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Stores

June 26 2008




It is risky to try to express luxury for an 18-28-year-old, wealthy male audience - and not turn them totally off. Rafael de Cardenas of New York's Architecture at Large took on this challenge with the rebuilding of Ubiq Philadelphia, the destination of choice for sneakerheads from far and wide.

As sneakers and streetwear do not lend themselves all that well to wine-colored velvet or chandeliers, de Cardenas approached the redesign of the large store with a cold and bold, simplified black-and-white palette. Hard, black-lacquered surfaces, op-inspired patterns, harsh lighting and simplified displays mix with beautiful detailing and white ceilings and floors.



Thrown into the mix is a posh back room, where streetwear is displayed in a traditional gentlemen's tailor room complete with dark-wood panels, antique furnishings, restored Victorian plasterwork and a magnificent, restored mahogany fireplace. It is all a nice fusion of mansion and showroom, inviting and cold, pared-down and rich. With his approach, de Cardenas has managed to teeter in the wobbly middle-space between the reassuring - 'you can tell this is expensive, can't you?' - and the nonchalant 'I don't really care.'



The entire store is up about a meter from street level, so you can be assured that you are seen, day or night, on display, shopping for your latest pair of Clae, Stussy Deluxe, Vans Vault, Original Fake, UMBRO by Kim Jones and many others. Apparently, rap artist Kanye West has shopped there, so it should be good to go for the rest. By Tuija Seipell

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