Posted 22/05/13 by Barber Design
We do like a pop-up shop and here’s a pop-up with a difference, within a shopping mall. The Mall Galleries shopping centre in central Bristol is using an empty space to host artists who are decorating 5 foot tall statues of the Aardman character, Gromit, to raise money for charity.
Shoppers can spy on the artists through the shop window as they paint and draw on eight different Gromits over the next few weeks in one of the vacant retail spaces in the shopping centre. There are seventy in all being decorated to locate across the city for a summer trail. After the trail the Gromits will be auctioned to raise money for the Grand Appeal that supports Bristol’s Childrens Hospital.
The Gromit trail follows on from Bristol Zoo’s gorilla trail that happened across Bristol a couple of years ago, where visitors and residents alike could use a free paper map to find and visit locations across the city to see different life sized gorillas, not silverback but multi-coloured.
This summer it’s Gromit’s turn to be redecorated by famous artists, illustrators, animators, designers and plain-old celebrities from Bristol and beyond. It’s a great example of animating an empty retail space in a way that both pulls in visitors to a shopping centre and benefits charity.
Posted 20/05/13 by Barber Design
Today we’re revisiting a space from late 2010 that was designed by Gary Card for LN-CC (Late Night Chameleon Cafe) as a physical retail space to complement the online store that sells beautiful pieces of designer clothing and accessories. Almost an art installation as well as a shop, the space caught the eye of design awards back in 2012, and was refurbished for Spring 2013.
Housed underground in the basement of a building on a busy road in Dalston, LN-CC manages to pack a lot of eye-catching design into 5,000 square foot. Although the store is open seven days a week, customers have to make an appointment to view the carefully curated collections of clothing, shoes, accessories, books and music. It also incorporates an event and exhibition space, complete with disco ball and vintage sound system.
As is to be expected from a designer who studied theatre design at St Martin’s, the store has a theatrical feel to it, and is an innovative use of underground space with no natural lighting. Customers move through the connected interior rooms, which evoke different moods from minimalist grey to space age shelving for shoes and then more light and airy rooms with hand-crafted wooden structures for clothes display.
n.b. There’s a tenuous link to last week’s post here about the Liberty Department store, as Gary Card was once quoted (in the FT) as saying he goes to Liberty to unwind as he loves that space so much. The design of LN-CC seems to be a world away from Liberty, though maybe the hand-built look of the wooden clothing display structures has filtered through to other interior designs, such as the LeviXLiberty summerhouse featured in last week’s post?
Posted 15/05/13 by Barber Design
Here’s an interesting piece of retail interior at Liberty in London with a real retro-design feel. Liberty is renowned as a home for design classics, with its iconic fabric designs, unusual shop interior and wonderfully over the top Christmas decorations. Not normally a place to park a car or two, but customers heading in for the launch of the new Levi’s® X Liberty collection could not fail to miss the two vehicles hanging from the ceiling. The flower-powered VW beetle and iconic London taxi filled full to bursting with flowers are part of an interior installation designed to evoke the 70s, as the collaboration between Levi’s and Liberty has gone back to the archive to pull out classic design pieces and blend them with a riot of Liberty florals. The installation also evokes a feeling of summer space by creating a patch of grass at the centre of the shop floor, with clothing displayed on mannequins in retro summerhouse-style fixtures. Not what you’d usually expect to see in the interior space at Liberty, but it certainly seems like these two world-renowned brands have combined to create a nostalgic shopping experience.
Posted 13/05/13 by Barber Design
Marks and Spencer unveiled their return to the Netherlands with the announcement of a small store in the heart of Amsterdam. The Amsterdam shop is the first of a plan to roll out a number of larger stores across the country, and was launched on the same day as the new M&S Netherlands website. There was already a high online demand from the Netherlands, with its high level of internet-savvy online shoppers. The new website is designed to cater to this experienced market, with a complementary mobile optimised site so that customers can browse the real and virtual shelves in the store then order online without losing that purchase impulse.
As well as selling food and fashion the 500 square metre Amsterdam store showcases cutting edge technologies to ‘improve and enhance’ the customer experience. Shoppers can browse the physical clothing display rails with their speciallly edited selection of the latest trends aimed at the Amsterdam clientele. They can then also check out the latest styles in M&S’s new E-boutique via its Virtual Rails. There are two virtual rails installed in the store, each consisting of three stacked 46” screens, alongside two ‘pillar inspiration screens’ which show images of the clothes being modelled.
Once the customer has been inspired by and played with the combined real and virtual shopping experience, they can use one of the two in-store order points to place their order, with or without assistance from style advisors armed with iPads. The store also has free wifi so that it is effectively free for a customer to use their own mobile device to access the website and place an order.
M&S have 156 browse and order points across 63 stores, and have seen in-store orders increase by 10% on last year. They have over 1,500 iPad wielding customer assistants already, showing that the company is already integrating ‘bricks and clicks’ in their business model, and is now using it to enable them to display a wide range of merchandise in smaller stores.
Posted 23/04/13 by Barber Design
You may remember our blog post back in December about our work with Travelex, the currency exchange company, where we were helping them to develop their global branding strategy. Here are some pics of some of our finished work for Travelex, including Currency exchange counters and ATMS which were recently installed at Manchester Airport.
Posted 19/04/13 by Barber Design
Following on from our recent look at the Apple ‘Spaceship Campus’ we thought you might like a peek around the Google Campus which opened in Shoreditch last year. The space is intended as a shared workspace for start-up companies in an area of London known for its high concentration of tech companies, known as the ‘Silicon Roundabout’.
The seven storey building features a series of flexible open-plan workspaces and lockers – providing hot desks and informal meeting rooms with small kitchenettes, located inside shipping containers within the building. Reclaimed materials such as fruit crates provide shelving and at ground level the reception desk is adorned with Duplo bricks – in acknowledgement of Google’s founders who have a special fondness for Lego – in an otherwise unbranded environment. On the ground floor, versatile meeting spaces can be transformed into different configurations using industrial-style red shutters to create presentation rooms which can be further sub-divided into smaller rooms as required. Below this, on the lower ground floor, a café and co-working facilities are available for non-residents who want to use the space.
The primary function of the Campus is to provide office space for start-up companies and the facilities also host regular events such as talks from leading technology and entrepreneurship experts and networking meetings. Google staff also frequent the offices to offer mentoring and share their experience and skills with residents.
The challenge for the architects and interior design team working on this project was to take an uninviting seven-storey office building and transform it into something vibrant and dynamic containing both open, social spaces and intimate working hubs – with the physical flexibility to host a shifting workforce with diverse needs and a varied program of events.
Much of the architectural focus was on opening up and connecting the ground and lower ground floors so that they were able to accommodate a series of social spaces – including the reception area plus informal meeting areas, the café and workshop spaces. The total floor area of the building is around 2,300 m² with 200 desk spaces, 16 meeting rooms and 2 event spaces with a capacity for 130 and 75 people, respectively.
The overall look and feel of the building reflects the type of business being conducted by it’s occupants: it is anti-corporate – focussed instead on young tech start-ups who are just embarking on their careers, as opposed to established, more traditional-style companies. The designers have stripped the building to its core, exposing the naked concrete and revealing the structure of ceiling slabs and columns. This, combined with the use of low-tech utilitarian and inexpensive materials like plywood alongside the perennial favourite of fashionable design and flexible working spaces – shipping containers – create a raw aesthetic and an environment focused on social interaction, diversity and practical flexibility.
The main working areas, which occupy the upper five floors of the building, are all open plan. The shipping containers dotted around on each floor separate circulation from the main office floor, providing multiple functions including space for private meetings and refreshments – featuring recycling stations, video conferencing suites, meeting booths and micro kitchens. The containers also contain soft seating areas and upholstered ‘nooks’ which offer respite from the hustle and bustle of the main working areas. The remaining wall space in the containers are covered with neutral grey fabric panels which improve the acoustics whilst also providing a space to pin notices.
Downstairs on the lower ground floor, the café design uses the same materials that have been used throughout the building in a continuation of the design theme. The coffee bar itself is situated in a kiosk at the centre of the room, dividing the space into two separate zones. In the rear half, bespoke upholstered banquet seating and small benches made from oiled plywood are dominated by a large mural by graphic artist Luke Embden. Towards the front, there is a large workbench offering opportunities for informal seminars and workshops. Behind a wooden warehouse door, the pipe room offers a more intimate atmosphere to brainstorm new business ideas or relax after lunch.
Posted 17/04/13 by Barber Design
Remember our blog piece back in February about Apple’s iconic global store designand how it had been emulated by bogus Apple stores in China, where even the staff thought they were working in an actual Apple Store? Following this blatant infringement of copyright, Apple then sought to attain groundbreaking patents on their retail store designs to prevent it happening in the future.
Despite successfully achieving a patent on their store design in the US, with expected global patents to follow, reports this week suggest that Apple are now planning to redevelop their retail store design strategy by appointing award-winning British architect Norman Foster’s architecture firm, Foster and Partners to revamp their stores.
Based in London, Foster and Partners were recently hired by Apple to design their new 5 billion ‘spaceship’ campus which is currently being developed in Cuperino, California (pictured) described as ‘one of the most ambitious building projects ever undertaken’ – particularly for a corporate headquarters. Some of Foster’s other iconic work includes the Gherkin building in London and the Hearst Tower in New York. He also worked with Sir Richard Branson and Philippe Starck on the Virgin Galactic project.
According to reports Foster and Partners will be replacing 8 Inc (who designed Apple’s designed Apple’s flagship 5th Avenue and Regent Street Stores) as primary architect on all Apple stores.
The shift to Foster and Partners is not seen as new Apple CEO Tim Cook making his stamp on the brand, but rather as part of their ongoing strategy to keep their ideas fresh and stay ahead of their competition. The ‘Space Camp’ HQ project has been a long time coming and Steve Jobs had a major role in selecting Foster and Partners to complete the work, so this shift in direction and retail design can simply be seen as a continuation of the brand ethos rather than a complete change of direction and here at Barber, we will be very interested to see what Apple and the new architects produce.
Posted 12/04/13 by Barber Design
Posted 10/04/13 by Barber Design
Another novel use for an empty shop – this week we take a look at the StadsGarderobe (‘City Wardrobe’) in the centre of Groningen, Netherlands, that has been transformed into a ‘central wardrobe’ for the city.
A friendly cross between a luggage locker and a cloakroom – daytime visitors to Groningen can simply check in their coat, bag or other things they don’t wish to carry whilst they go about their business. Daytime shoppers can check in their purchases so that they are not weighed down with bags whilst they continue shopping – or if they have come to shop and then go clubbing they can check their daytime trappings until the end of the evening. Similarly, clubbers can leave their heavy winter jackets and coats before an evening’s bar-hopping, without being encumbered or having to check them in at separate venues for multiple cost.
Groningen is a small university city in the north of the Netherlands, where many urban core functions are concentrated in the city centre. All of the clubs, bars and restaurants are situated very close together in just a couple of connected streets, making it possible to visit multiple bars on the same night, without having to put on a heavy overcoat between each. Previously people always left their coat at a seat or bar stool somewhere in the first bar they visited, before venturing to others. This used to result in hoards of drunk students, invariably in various states of intoxication trawling back around the places they had been looking for their stuff at the end of the evening.
Using this system there was always a chance that they wouldn’t get their coat back – either because they couldn’t find them or they had been stolen by others – the situation was so bad, up to 8,000 people lost their jackets or coats per year in Groningen’s bars and clubs – so a group of students decided to take action by setting up the StadsGarderobe as a new business.
The City Wardrobe shop has room for 1,500 items and is open all night until 7am from Tuesdays to Saturday. On Sundays and Mondays it is only open during the day. It costs a very reasonable €1.50 to store a jacket or coat and they also report lost and found items which are handed into them over the course of the working day via Twitter and Facebook. Repeat trade is encouraged via a ‘lottery’ using the tickets that people already have for their checked items. The store is also used to launch small give-away or promotion campaigns for other local businesses.
Posted 05/04/13 by Barber Design
You may remember our recent article about Shoes of Prey and their use of branded scent in their new flagship store in Australia…this week we take a look at how other innovators are using scent to attract customers or enhance the shopping experience.
In a recent article about fragrance entitled ‘fragrance by Design, internationally renowned fashion magazine ELLE, wrote about the use of ‘scent branding’, otherwise known as ‘olfactory branding’, within the fashion world. Fashion houses have recently begun to use fragrance to subconsciously stimulate their audiences into associating a particular scent with a brand. Starting in New York, but spreading across the fashion world, designers have been subtly perfuming the catwalks at their runway shows. They choose a signature fragrance that the audience will then associate with that season’s collection—and with the characteristics of the brand itself to create a lasting, multi-sensorial impression.
From the catwalk to the high street
Experts predict that this innovative trend of using scent in high fashion catwalk shows will inevitably find its place in the high street – especially as many fashion houses already have a range of branded scents – eg Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and of course, the iconic Chanel. The use of olfactory branding opens up further opportunity to create scents which are associated with particular collections and possibly time bound for the duration of that trend.
Hugo Boss are already using a signature fragrance throughout their stores. The smooth, woody scents were developed to compliment the minimalist interior design of their retail stores and evoke a luxurious atmosphere, which the Vice President of Visual Presentation describes as completing “the unique store environment and customer experience.”
Attracting passing trade
Scent is also used as a means of luring people into a store that they might otherwise walk past. A subtle yet pleasant aroma secreted from a shop doorway can often entice a customer as much as an effective retail window display. This technique has already been used by fashion stores as well as food and cosmetic retailers – with mixed results. Some scent-pumping stores have caused controversy. Lush cosmetics use very strong smells which often tend to waft down the high street and divide potential customers who either love or hate the aroma, with some complaining of headaches and calling for a ban on the ‘pollution’ whilst others cannot walk past a Lush store without being lured through the doors to make a purchase by the strong perfume.
If a customer is relaxed and enjoying the atmosphere of the store, it stands to reason that they are more likely to browse for a longer period of time and the longer a customer remains in the store, the higher the chance of a sale. Some companies also manufacture pheromone scents for retail which not only lure with pleasant aromas but use synthetic compounds to trigger feel-good responses in the customer’s brain. For example in several stores in the US, a compound which mimics the ‘maternal sense of comfort piped to children when they’re crying or otherwise unhappy’ has been filtered onto the shop floor through air ducts or a small fan under the cashier’s desk. The substance is intended to relax customers so they stay longer, and buy more – this kind of subconscious marketing sounds sinister and the director of development at one pheromone supply company is quick to point out that the pheromone will only put customers at ease, not force them to do anything against their will.
Bloomingdales use scent to mark out the individual areas of their store, so that customers can distinguish the departments into individual environments, distinct from one another. Their intention is to create a unique and memorable shopping experience for their customers by dispensing different scents in multiple locations throughout their stores. In the baby department, the soft scent of baby powder wafts across the shop floor, whilst soothing lilac permeates throughout the lingerie section and the swimwear department is enhanced with the aroma of coconut, evoking thoughts of sun-kissed tropical holidays and exotic cocktails. By using scent in this novel manner, Bloomingdales are really delivering on their commitment to be a leading innovator in the retail industry.
The Aviator Hotel
The Aviator Hotel is a contemporary boutique hotel which overlooks Farnborough Airport in Hampshire. Rohan Slabbert, Rooms Division manager at the hotel describes how they use seasonal scent in the hotel reception area to reflect enhance their smart, sophisticated atmosphere to guests:
” …has enhanced the sense of arrival, making it an indulgent and truly unique experience for our guests. With the wide range of fragrances available, we are able to tailor the ambience of the lobby to our needs – from fresh green bamboo in summer to pine and spice fragrances over Christmas.”